Forrest General Hospital became the first hospital in Mississippi to treat mitral regurgitation using transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) with MitraClip therapy on Thursday, Jan. 5. The procedure was performed by a Forrest General team of cardiologists led by Christopher Douglas, M.D., cardiologist.
The mitral valve, located between the two left chambers of the heart, has two flaps of tissue, called leaflets. When functioning correctly, the leaflets open and close ensuring that blood flows in only one direction. Mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve fails to close completely causing blood to leak backward into the heart. Mitral regurgitation can cause complications by forcing the heart and lungs to work harder than normal, which may cause some patients to develop an enlarged heart over time. If mitral regurgitation is left untreated, more serious problems to the heart, such as heart failure, may occur.
In the past, open-heart mitral valve surgery was the only treatment option for this condition, but for some patients, due to age, advanced heart failure, or other serious medical conditions, that is not a viable option. TMVR provides a less invasive treatment option for those patients who may not be eligible for traditional open heart surgery.
During the procedure, the physician accesses the heart through a vein in the patient’s leg and inserts a thin wire called a catheter. The MitraClip device is implanted onto the mitral valve clipping together a small area of the valve. While the valve continues to open and close on either side of the clip, blood flows on both sides of the clip reducing the flow of blood in the wrong direction.
MitraClip therapy is delivered via a catheter-based approach without a median sternotomy or the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. It is the only TMVR option to treat mitral regurgitation.
Douglas said, “This less invasive procedure could be life saving for patients who are not eligible for traditional open-heart surgery. The Forrest General Heart and Vascular team is proud to offer this breakthrough technology to the Region. Abbott selected Forrest General as the best site in Mississippi for structural heart disease work and wanted to showcase the site as their first center in the state for the mitral valve clip procedure- Mitraclip.