One in 10 people over the age of 75 have a heart valve condition called mitral valve regurgitation. Adventist HealthCare’s Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH) is the first hospital in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, to offer a minimally invasive heart procedure to fix the problem of a leaky heart valve without surgery.
WAH surgeons performed their first transcatheter mitral valve repair, or MitraClip, procedure in September 2018. The minimally invasive procedure offers a solution for patients with mitral valve regurgitation who cannot have open-heart surgery.
“We are pleased to expand access to the MitraClip procedure to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from mitral valve regurgitation who cannot have surgery,” said Interventional Cardiology director Fayaz Shawl, who performed the first MitraClip procedure with the WAH heart care team.
Mitral valve regurgitation is a serious heart condition that occurs when the valve does not close properly, causing it to leak blood back into the heart. If left untreated, it strains the heart and lungs and can eventually cause heart failure. Further, the regurgitation causes symptoms such as inability to exercise, fatigue, fainting, shortness of breath, or a dry cough.
Surgery is typically a safe and effective treatment for many patients. WAH offers a comprehensive array of options to treat mitral valve disease, including traditional open-heart surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Each patient is unique, and MitraClip offers an effective alternative for patients for whom surgery is too high a risk because of advanced age or chronic illness.
The MitraClip procedure is performed by sliding a tiny tube, called a catheter, with a clip the size of a small coin through an incision in an artery near the groin and up to the heart. The clip stops the leak, allowing the heart to pump blood to the body normally.
For patients who qualify, MitraClip offers a quick recovery time, immediate relief of their symptoms, improved quality of life, and a significantly lower chance of heart failure. The procedure is performed by a team of heart care experts led by the interventional cardiologist and heart surgeon.
“As regional leaders in mitral valve surgery, it is important to us to add the MitraClip procedure for patients that are at very high risk for surgery. It is a natural step to advance Washington Adventist Hospital’s structural heart program,” said Niv Ad, a heart surgeon and medical director of Cardiac Surgery Research at WAH. “We strive to offer the most innovative treatments to fit each patient’s needs.”