The University of Virginia Medical Center is offering a new heart valve repair procedure that does not come with the risks of open-heart surgery.
The minimally invasive option uses a small clip to patch a leaking heart valve. The MitraClip device was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October. The UVA Health System is one of the first hospitals in the country to offer this treatment.
Here's how the process works: doctors insert a catheter with the MitraClip in a patient's leg and thread it up to the heart. The tiny metal piece covered in a fabric is then placed on the leaking part of the mitral valve and essentially clips the valve back together. The cloth on the clip allows for healing to happen in place and the piece becomes a permanent implant.
Doctors in the advanced cardiac valve center say the MitraClip is the first effective treatment for patients who are at a high risk for surgery.
“It offers a less invasive way to treat somebody's leaking heart valve, particularly for a more elderly, frail patient who can't undergo the standard, which is open-heart surgery. So this really expands our ability to help some of our older patients in need of this type of thing,” said Dr. Scott Lim, at UVA’s Cardiac Valve Center.
The procedure has already been performed on more than 10,000 patients worldwide.
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