The valve present on your heart’s left side is known as the mitral valve or the "inflow valve." Once the left atrium is filled with oxygen-rich blood brought in by pulmonary veins, the mitral valve allows further movement of the blood to the left ventricle.

The mitral valve then closes to prevent the blood from going back into the lungs. The mitral valve has two leaflets or cusps.

Mitral Valve Disease and Treatment

Like any other organ or tissue, the mitral valve can also have problems. The two major issues associated with the mitral valve is:
  • Mitral valve stenosis
  • Mitral valve regurgitation.
Treatment protocol for mitral valve disease depends on the severity of the condition, signs, and symptoms and if the condition is becoming worse.

The treatment team consisting of your doctor and other specialists will evaluate you for determining the most appropriate treatment method.

Your doctor during the evaluation, may conduct a physical, review the medical history and perform various related tests.

You might be suggested monitoring if the symptoms are mild or absent. You might also be suggested medication to manage the symptoms. Surgery is generally not prescribed if the condition is benign.

You, however, will require either mitral valve repair or replacement in the long run.

In some instances, your treatment team might prescribe either repair or replacement, even if you do not experience any symptoms. Long term outcomes in these people are better.

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TVMr)

While open-heart surgery is the preferred repair route, but factors like advanced stage of heart failure, age, or any severe underlying medical condition can force your doctor to rule out surgery.

In such cases, your treatment team might opt for a less-invasive transcatheter mitral valve repair or TVMr using MitraClip.

Abbott’s MitraClip

Abbott’s MitraClip is a medical device (small clip), that is used for treating mitral valve regurgitation in patients who are deemed unfit for surgery.

MitraClip treats mitral regurgitation by closing the compromised mitral valve securely.

A less-invasive procedure, the MitraClip repair involves using a catheter, inserted in the groin, to access the mitral valve. The success rate of Abbott’s MitraClip has seen it being included in the newer guidelines for the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation.

While the procedure typically varies from patient to patient, but patients usually get discharged from the hospital within two or three days.

Patients start experiencing a definite improvement in the symptoms, and the quality of life improves after completion of the procedure.

The Mitraclip Procedure

Unlike the regular mitral valve repair, mitral valve repair using Abbott’s MitraClip is performed by accessing the mitral valve through a vein present in the groin.

A small incision is made in the groin. A catheter is then passed through the vein.

It is first passed through to the right side and then the left side using trans-septal puncture, a very specialized technique that gives the surgeons access to the patient’s mitral valve.

The Mitraclip is inserted into the catheter and passed through it to the left side, which is connected by a delivery system. This delivery system remains outside the patient’s body and allows the surgeons to control the delivery.

During the procedure, the cardiac surgeon takes the utmost care to ensure no air bubbles or blood clots reach the heart.

Surgeons then position the Abbott’s Mitraclip over the leaky valve. Minor adjustments are made with the help of the delivery system, and the clip is placed in the desired position.

The surgeon can open and close the arms of MitraClip. They can even turn it clockwise or counterclockwise.

The surgeon opens the arms of the Mitraclip and passes it below the mitral valve. Further positioning is done and the Mitraclip pulled upwards and the mitral leaflets or cusps are grasped.

The MitraClip is then closed, and the mitral valve is reassessed to determine if the mitral regurgitation has reduced.

Once the surgeon is convinced, the MitraClip arms are closed, and the clip is secured into position. The surgeon then detaches the clip from the delivery system and withdraws it.

Correct positioning ensures that the mitral regurgitation is reduced to the maximum possible extent.

Sometimes, a patient might require more than one MitraClip for achieving the desired result. Proper positioning ensures that Mitraclip is secured tightly to the mitral valve leaflets.

You can watch the video of the MitraClip Procedure here.

Benefits of Abbott’s MitraClip Procedure

One of the most significant benefits of this procedure is the reduction in mitral regurgitation and improved quality of life.

Here is a look at some of the benefits of undergoing a MitraClip Procedure.
  • Improved mitral regurgitation symptoms
  • Improvement in quality of life
  • Decreased chance of prolonged hospitalization
  • Improved heart shape
  • Reduced heart size
  • Avoiding high risks associated with open-heart surgery

The Takeaway

MitraClip is one of the latest additions to the plethora of options available for treating heart diseases. Even though there are certain risks associated with Abbott’s MitraClip, the benefits outweigh them.

It will be prudent to remember that repair of the mitral valve using Abbott’s MitraClip improves the quality of life and does not increase longevity.