MitraClip is a relatively simple surgical procedure that is used to fix a broken mitral valve. Known as a type of minimally invasive treatment option, MitraClip utilizes an innovative catheter-based technology that allows a small clip to be implant into the mitral valve, restoring normal blood flow by closing the mitral valve properly.
Why is it done?
The MitraClip procedure is recommended for patients suffering from the following conditions:
- Severe mitral regurgitation due to a malfunctioning mitral valve
- High risk for a normal valve surgery
How is MitraClip procedure different from traditional open-heart surgery?
The main difference between a MitraClip procedure and traditional open-heart surgery is incisions and a catheter. MitraClip is a minimally-invasive surgical option. It does not require the chest cavity to be opened to access the mitral valve, whereas open-heart surgeries would require the same.
MitraClip procedures involve inserting a catheter into a large vein located in the groin area, more specifically the femoral vein, and the surgeon navigates the catheter through the vein towards the heart. The catheter is properly positioned through the use of trans-oesophageal echocardiogram and X-ray fluoroscopic images.
Once the catheter reaches the affected area of the Mitral valve, the MitraClip is attached to the leaflets of the valve, which allows the vale to open and close properly. The surgeon checks if the clip has stopped the leakage, and releases the clip accordingly. If there are several leaks, multiple MitraClips would will be used to stop the leakage.
Who is suitable for MitraClip procedure?
The minimally invasive nature of the MitraClip procedure makes it a reliable and safe option for many patients who need to undergo heart surgery. Through the use of incisions and catheters, most patients would not face the same risks and complications associated with open-heart surgery.
Patients who face a high risk of developing complications during an open-heart surgery are suitable for the MitraClip procedure. The suitability of the procedure would first be assessed by a surgical team, and to check this, Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE) is used by surgeons to identify the fault in the mitral valve.
What are the benefits of the MitraClip procedure?
The major benefit of MitraClip procedures, and any other minimally invasive procedure, is faster recovery time once the surgery is completed. Other benefits include:
- Minimal pain and discomfort
- Incisions are easier to stich up
- Immediate relief from shortness of breath and mitral regurgitation, once the procedure is completed
- Helps patients achieve normalcy in their daily activities quicker
How can a patient prepare for MitraClip procedure?
Due to the comparatively shorter post-operative recovery time, MitraClip procedures require minimal preparation. As with any minimally invasive surgery treatment options, surgeons will run a few tests to check if underlying disorders can cause complications during the procedure.
What are the risks involved?
MitraClip procedures pose very little risks, but as with any surgery, the following risks are possible:
- Groin injury – While this is extremely rare, patients still run the risk of damaging the femoral artery (located in the groin section) when navigating the MitraClip towards the mitral value.
- Disrupting existing implanted devices – When navigating the MitraClip towards the mitral valve, there are small risks of dislocating existing pacemakers (which were inserted during a previous procedure).
What can you expect from a MitraClip procedure?
Before the procedure
MitraClip procedure require minimal preparation since it’s a minimally invasive technique. Surgeons will advise the patients on any dietary restrictions, or fasts, before the surgery is administered. Surgeons will also take a look at existing medications and check if they might cause any complications during the procedure.
During the procedure
The surgeon makes a small incision in the groin area to access the femoral artery. Then, a tiny metal clip that’s coated with polyester fabric (which is also known as the mitral valve clip device) is then inserted into the femoral artery and guides towards the heart using a catheter. Once the surgeon reaches the mitral valve, the clip attaches itself to two areas of the defective valve, opening up the closed mitral valve.
It’s important to note that even though this procedure significantly reduces the leakage, or mitral regurgitation symptoms, it does not completely treat the condition.
After the procedure
Once the procedure is completed, most patients experience immediate relief from mitral regurgitation, and they can also be discharged on the same day. If the procedure involves stopping multiple leaks, patients might be required to stay in the hospital for a day or two.
On discharge, patients are advised to follow the guidelines (mentioned below) to ensure symptoms related to mitral regurgitation do not recur:
- Avoid intense physical activities – Surgeons advise patients to limit their physical activities for at least a month since strenuous activities can lead to shortness of breath.
- Take medications as prescribed by the surgeon – Medications are important in speeding up the recovery process and avoiding any instances of relapse.
- Keep an eye on any side effects – In case patients experience any side effects from the procedure, they must get in touch with the surgeon as soon as possible.
MitraClip has benefitted many patients across the globe due to its minimally invasive nature and significantly lesser post-operative recovery time. This procedure is suitable for all kinds of heart patients, especially those who are at a higher risk of developing complications during open-heart surgery. Patients also report immediate relief from mitral regurgitation symptoms following the procedure. Hence it’s a procedure favored and recommended by cardiologists across the globe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a leaky valve/mitral regurgitation?
Leaky valve or mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve fails to close properly, resulting in blood leaking back to the heart chamber.
What is MitraClip made of?
MitraClip consists of a tiny metal clip that’s coated in polyester fabric.
How soon after having the MitraClip procedure will I start to feel the effects?
Patients have reported immediate relief following the procedure.
How do I find a MitraClip center near me?
To find the nearest MitraClip center near you, all you have to do is search for the nearest Apollo Hospital near you.
How long does a MitraClip procedure take?
The entire procedure usually takes 1 to 3 hours.
What is the success rate of mitral valve clip surgery?
The success rate of this procedure is high, and it is the most favored option to treat mitral valve regurgitation.