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MitraClip: Minimally-invasive treatment for mitral valve regurgitation

The mitral valve is one of four valves in the heart and serves as a “gatekeeper” to the left side of the heart. When it leaks, or regurgitates, the blood that should be pumping to the rest of the body leaks back into the heart.

“It puts undue stress on the heart,” explains Vivek Rajagopal, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at the Marcus Heart Valve Center at Piedmont Heart Institute. “Over months and years, this undue stress weakens the heart and as the heart gets weaker, the person gets weaker.”

For years, open heart surgery has been the gold standard for repairing the mitral valve. However, there are some patients who are too sick, too old or too frail to undergo major surgery.

That’s where the MitraClip comes in.

“The MitraClip is a minimally-invasive way to repair the mitral valve,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “Much like a heart catheterization, we will go through groin blood vessels, cross over from one side of the heart to the other, and deliver a clip, which cinches the leaky parts of the valve together.”

What to expect after a MitraClip procedure

After undergoing a MitraClip procedure, most patients can expect to stay in the hospital for less than a week and resume normal activities within two weeks.

Quality of life after MitraClip

Dr. Rajagopal says for the majority of patients, quality of life improves.

“That’s really important because a lot of them are frail and cannot do basic activities of living,” he explains. “In the majority of these patients, the clip really reduces their regurgitation and allows them to do those things they want to do.”

To learn more about the MitraClip procedure, visit the Marcus Heart Valve Center at Piedmont Heart Institute. 

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