What is a MitraClip procedure? What condition(s) does it treat?

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition that occurs when the mitral valve of the heart doesn't close tightly enough, which allows blood to flow backward into the heart. This keeps blood from flowing efficiently through the heart and to the rest of the body and can cause the heart to pump harder. Around 4 million people in the United States experience mitral valve regurgitation. Symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breath and even congestive heart failure.

The Structural Heart Program at UK uses the MitraClip procedure to close off the mitral valve and restore normal blood flow through the heart. It is particularly beneficial for patients who cannot undergo open-heart surgery.

What should I expect during a MitraClip procedure?

Patients are placed under general anesthesia for the duration of the MitraClip procedure, which usually lasts about three hours. Our team inserts a catheter, or tube, into the vein in your leg and guides it to the left chamber of the heart. We then position the MitraClip device to stop the leak and use ultrasound imaging to ensure it is placed correctly.

Patients remain in the hospital for two to three days after the procedure to recover, but their mitral valve regurgitation symptoms go away fairly soon after the procedure. Compared with open-heart surgery, patients who undergo MitraClip recover faster and return home in fewer days.