With a procedure performed today, the Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital became the third in the U.S. – following heart centers in Los Angeles and Phoenix – to perform 250 mitral heart valve repair procedures using a device called the MitraClip®.
MitraClip, made by Abbott Vascular in Santa Clara, Calif., is the only available minimally invasive option for people with a severe leak in the mitral valve who are too high-risk for traditional open heart surgery. The condition, called mitral regurgitation, is the most common heart valve disease.
“People who suffer from mitral regurgitation are among the most undertreated populations in the country. Less invasive treatment is a blessing for many patients who can’t tolerate open heart surgery,” said
Paul Sorajja, M.D., director, Center for Valve and Structural Disease director at Minneapolis Heart Institute®.
Dr. Sorajja led a recent
study of MitraClip that included about 3,000 patients in the U.S. That study found the procedure to be safe and effective in more than 90 percent of the patients treated.
A leak in the mitral valve occurs when the flaps, or doors, do not close completely, allowing blood to flow back into the heart as it pumps. The heart has to work harder, as a result, to keep blood flowing and can raise the risk for life-threatening stroke and heart failure. When mitral regurgitation becomes severe, it can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life by causing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms.
In select patients, the MitraClip device – about the length of a dime – is guided into place using a thin tube guided through a small incision in a leg vein. The clip is then attached to the flaps of the mitral valve to help it close more completely and restore normal blood flow. Patients tend to have a short hospital stay and experience improved heart function and symptoms almost immediately. About 50,000 patients have been treated with this therapy worldwide.