What is mitral regurgitation?
Mitral regurgitation is a condition affecting one of the valves in your heart, the mitral valve. The mitral valve is located between your heart's two left chambers.
The mitral valve has two flaps of tissue, called leaflets, that open and close to ensure that blood flows in only one direction. When the mitral valve fails to close completely, blood leaks backward inside your heart—a condition called mitral regurgitation.
One type of mitral regurgitation is called degenerative mitral regurgitation (also called primary or organic). It can be related to age, a birth defect, or underlying heart disease.
What can happen if my mitral regurgitation is not treated?
Mitral regurgitation places an extra burden on your heart and lungs. Over time, some people may develop an enlarged heart because it has to work harder to pump blood through the body. If it is not treated, mitral regurgitation can cause other, more serious problems to your heart, such as:
- Heart Failure: a condition that occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body.
- Atrial Fibrillation: a condition which causes the upper chamber of your heart to beat chaotically and rapidly. This can lead to blood clots which can travel to other parts of your body, potentially causing serious problems such as stroke.
- Pulmonary Hypertension: a type of high blood pressure that affects the vessels in the lungs.
If your doctor has determined that you are too sick for open-heart surgery, you may be eligible for a less-invasive treatment option that is now available. This procedure is called transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) with MitraClip therapy.
How MitraClip® therapy is different
Unlike surgery, the MitraClip procedure does not require opening the chest and temporarily stopping the heart. Instead, doctors access the mitral valve with a thin tube (called a catheter) that is guided through a vein in your leg to reach your heart.
What are the possible benefits of the MitraClip procedure?
As of July 2017, over 50,000 patients have been treated with the MitraClip device globally. In clinical studies in the U.S., more than 1,200 patients have undergone the MitraClip procedure, and over 900 of these patients have been followed for 1 year.
Clinical data from patients who underwent the MitraClip procedure demonstrate an immediate reduction of mitral regurgitation and a low hospital length of stay of 2.9 days. You should experience significant improvement in your quality of life from a reduction in symptoms of mitral regurgitation, such as shortness of breath and tiredness.
Patients who were studied 1 year after the MitraClip procedure continued to experience improvement in their quality of life and ability to perform day-to-day tasks. They also had fewer visits to the hospital for complications due to heart failure.