UofL Physicians Valve Team now offers MitraClip procedure

Published on February 13, 2015

Patients with mitral regurgitation who are too ill for open-heart surgery can now find relief thanks to the MitraClip procedure. The Valve Team at UofL Physicians and Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, recently successfully completed a new life-saving heart procedure for patients with mitral regurgitation. This was the first time in Louisville the minimally invasive MitraClip procedure has been completed. 

The MitraClip is a small metal clip that treats patients with mitral regurgitation, a condition where the heart’s mitral valve leaflets do not close tightly, allowing blood to leak into the heart’s left atrium and can lead to advanced heart failure. The clip is delivered through the femoral vein with a catheter by the Valve Team, which consists of an interventional cardiologist and a cardiovascular surgeon.

The MitraClip procedure shortens recovery time and ultimately improves quality of life for those experiencing life-altering symptoms from mitral regurgitation, like fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet or ankles and heart murmur.

“This new treatment expands the options for select patients with mitral regurgitation, especially those who are not candidates for invasive open-heart surgery,” said Kendra Grubb, M.D., MHA, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at UofL. “This procedure allows us to use catheter-based technology to repair the mitral valve, without the need for cardiopulmonary bypass or an incision on the chest.”  

The Valve Team is expanding on their experience in more than 150 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVR). With MitraClip and TAVR, like Michael Flaherty, M.D., Ph.D., a UofL Physicians cardiologist, are now able to treat a number of serious heart conditions with minimally invasive methods.

“This is a major breakthrough for patients too ill to undergo open heart surgery,” said Dr. Flaherty. “In the past, the only option to help patients with congestive heart failure was to band-aid the symptoms with medication. But with technology like the MitraClip, innovations like TAVR, we’re presented with a huge opportunity to increase the health and quality of life of many patients, including those who are not candidates for open-heart surgery.”

During the MitraClip procedure, a physician will use traditional catheter techniques to guide the clip into the left atrium. The clip is lowered and attached to the valve to repair or reduce mitral regurgitation. Before final placement, the clip can be moved and rotated to ensure optimal fit. 

Mitral regurgitation is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency in the United States, affecting approximately 4 million people. This condition cannot be medically treated, and previously could only be repaired with open-heart surgery on patients who were otherwise physically healthy. 

If you have a patient who may benefit from this new surgical technique please call Mary Jo Noon, Valve Coordinator at UofL Physicians – Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, at 502-588-7616 or call the main practice line at 502-588-7645.

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