OU Health Milestone with Catheter-Based Mitral Valve Repair

OU Health Milestone with Catheter-Based Mitral Valve Repair

Multidisciplinary teams at OU Health recently performed a first-ever catheter-based mitral valve repair at OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center, broadening the options for patients with leaking mitral heart valves while removing many of the risks associated with open-heart mitral valve repair – with many being able to go home the next day after the procedure.

This means even more patients will be able to receive treatment, even if they don’t need or qualify for open-heart surgery.

Minimally Invasive Treatments Bring Shorter Hospital Stays, More Rapid Recovery

Usman Baber, M.D., M.S., FACC, FSCAI, director of Interventional Cardiology and the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at OU Health, said for years, the only way to treat mitral valve regurgitation was with open-heart surgery, and only if the patient was a suitable candidate. Open-heart surgery usually requires a sternotomy and in some patients the valve can be repaired, but others require a valve replacement.

Now, new minimally invasive catheter-based techniques can repair the mitral valve without open-heart surgery. The MitraClip procedure was the first approved for use in the U.S.

The mitral valve connects the left atrium to the left ventricle to the main pumping chamber of the heart. When it is leaking, a proportion of the blood that is meant to go forward and deliver blood and oxygen to the body is instead going backwards. Mitral valve disease occurs in approximately 3-5% of the population and is a condition that is increasing in incidence as the population ages in Oklahoma. Untreated, it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In patients who have favorable anatomy and who have significant regurgitation and underlying symptoms, the catheter-based treatment is ideal. The procedure is conducted under anesthesia with access through the femoral vein in the right leg. The MitraClip device connects the anterior and posterior leaflets of the mitral valve, so they are unable to slip past each other and leak. The clip is deployed via the catheter tube under the direction of echocardiography. The success rate is very high.

The procedure takes approximately two hours and the patient can go home within one or two days and the results are usually felt immediately.

More Options Mean Benefits for More Individuals

“When a patient has the MitraClip procedure, their symptoms improve, they’re less likely to be hospitalized with heart failure and they feel a lot better,” Baber explained. “Typically, the patients getting this procedure are those who cannot endure open heart surgery and we can now offer them a therapy to treat their condition, close to home. There is still a role for open-heart surgery and the catheter-based mitral valve repair is a complementary procedure that is of great benefit to many patients.”

The procedure at OU Health is an interactive team-based approach involving a heart surgeon or interventional cardiologist, an echocardiographer working in real-time and an anesthesiologist. The differences in recovery and risk between open-heart surgery and the catheter-based mitral valve repair are vast — open-heart surgery will normally require hospitalization for five to seven days.

After the catheter-based mitral valve repair the patients are left with a tiny incision in the groin and minimal recovery time. For patients, this means less time off work and away from family.

Baber said, “As an institution and a healthcare system we should be very proud of this new technology that we can now offer our patients with mitral valve disease. This milestone is a testament to our team-based approach and our collective efforts and it enhances our ability to take care of patients with complex cardiovascular disease.”

If you or a loved one experience a heart condition or disorder, trust your care to the highly trained cardiac team at OU Health. Learn more about heart care at OU Health, or request an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist.