The Mitraclip Percutaneous Mitral Valve Repair System is a minimally invasive procedure to treat mitral regurgitation, the most common type of heart valve insufficiency. The mitral valve controls normal blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle, two of the heart’s four large chambers. When the mitral valve doesn’t close fully, blood flows backward into the upper heart chamber (left atrium) from the lower chamber as it contracts. This leads to a decrease in blood flow to the rest of the body, which may cause the heart to try to pump harder and result in congestive heart failure. Its incidence tends to become even more prevalent as the population ages, making new, less invasive treatment options welcome alternatives for a growing number of patients.
MitraClip is a cardiac catheterization procedure performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The MitraClip device is introduced through the femoral vein and advanced to the left atrium to position the clip above the mitral valve and guide it into the left ventricle of the heart. When retracted, the clip grasps the sides of the existing valves (known as leaflets) and closes them to create an edge-to-edge repair that stops the regurgitation and helps the heart pump blood more effectively. Although the effectiveness and durability of this repair typically are not as good as with surgical valve reconstruction, the MitraClip procedure offers a new therapeutic option to patients who are denied surgery because of their advanced age or other risk factors, and it is the only FDA-approved alternative to valve reconstruction surgery.
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Program is the oldest and largest program of its kind in Alabama. It provides ongoing care – sometimes for life – to patients who have or are at risk for structural heart and valve disease. Our experienced surgeons and cardiologists take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating this condition, and their expertise ranges from traditional open-heart surgery to robotic-assisted valve repair and the latest in minimally invasive surgical techniques, which require only small incisions (cuts).
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Clinic has achieved several important milestones in the past decade. In 2012, we performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Alabama, and UAB has performed more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in the state. As an added service, patients who have been told by non-UAB doctors that they need valve surgery can speak to a UAB structural heart and valve surgeon for a second opinion.
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