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Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (MitraClip™)

Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) is a minimally invasive technique for patients with mitral regurgitation (MR). MR is when your mitral valve doesn’t close properly. Blood flows backward from the left ventricle to the left atrium and eventually the lungs.

The MitraClip™ is a transcatheter technology that involves suturing together the mitral valve leaflets. This allows for blood to flow in the right direction. Although a MitralClip™ rarely eliminates MR, patients often feel better a few days after the procedure is performed.

Unlike surgery, the MitraClip™ procedure does not require opening the chest and temporarily stopping the heart. The clip is smaller than a dime and can be placed through a catheter-based procedure.

Why choose Presbyterian for your transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a team of highly-skilled surgeons who are using some of the most advanced techniques to perform this procedure. These techniques can improve recovery time, reduce complications and provide a quicker return to work and other daily activities.

Who is eligible for a transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

Patients who are eligible for the procedure are:

  • Able to tolerate blood thinners.

  • Free of infection and blood clots.

  • Unable to withstand a major surgical procedure.

  • Have MR that is not the result of rheumatic fever.

Common tests to diagnose MR include:

  • Echocardiogram: This test is commonly used to diagnose MR. In this test, sound waves produce video images of your heart activity.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): Electrodes attached to adhesive pads on your skin measure electrical impulses from your heart. An EKG can detect enlarged chambers of your heart, heart disease, and abnormal heart rhythms.

  • Chest X-ray: This helps your doctor determine whether the left atrium or the left ventricle is enlarged—an indicator of MR—and the health of your lungs.

  • Cardiac MRI: This uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of your heart and determine the severity of your condition and assess the left ventricle.

  • CT Scan: This test can evaluate the chest, abdomen, and pelvis to determine whether you're a candidate for robotic mitral valve repair.

What conditions can be treated with a transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

MR is often mild and progresses slowly. You may have no symptoms for many years.

Your doctor might first suspect you have MR if they hear a heart murmur. Sometimes, however, the problem develops quickly, and you may experience a sudden onset of severe signs and symptoms. MR can lead to symptoms of: 

How do I prepare for a transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

In the days before your procedure, it is important that you:

  • Tell your doctor if you have any allergies.

  • Bring a change of clothes if you are required to stay overnight.

  • Ask your doctor if you should stop taking certain medications like aspirin and anticoagulants that may interfere with surgery.

What should I expect during my transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

In this procedure, the doctor will insert a thin tube (catheter) through a vein, usually in your groin, and guide the MitralClip™ device, a small metal clip coated in polyester fabric, to your mitral valve. The clip is attached to two areas of the defective valve. Doctors use the clip to reshape the valve.

The MitralClip™ procedure is usually scheduled and performed in an outpatient setting. The entire procedure usually lasts between one to three hours.

How do I care for myself after my transcatheter mitral valve repair (MitraClip™)?

Most people experience immediate relief of their MR symptoms after the procedure. Some patients can go home after a few hours of monitoring, while others may have to stay a day or two.

After being discharged from the hospital, it is important that you:

  • Limit strenuous physical activity for at least 30 days or longer if your doctor thinks it is necessary.

  • Follow your doctor's instructions regarding medications, especially if blood-thinning drugs are prescribed.

  • Take note of any serious side effects: Call your doctor if you cannot keep taking your medications because of side effects, such as rash, bleeding, or upset stomach.

If there are no complications and your work does not require strenuous activity, you can usually return within 72 hours of surgery. You may be asked to follow up with your cardiologist or a primary care professional a week after surgery, but if your MR symptoms return before then, or at any point, notify a healthcare professional immediately.