Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute Offers Innovative MitraClip® Procedure for Mitral Regurgitation

Oct 31, 2017

The region’s first MitraClip® procedure to treat a leak in the mitral valve was performed by Wenwu Zhang, MD, at the Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Willis-Knighton is the third healthcare provider in the state to offer this treatment option. The procedure took place in the Institute’s hybrid surgical suite.

Dr. Zhang, cardiologist with Willis-Knighton Cardiology, performed the procedure with Ryan Master, MD, from Pierremont Cardiology, and Sai Konduru, MD, from Willis-Knighton Cardiology.

MitraClip® is a new treatment option for people with a severe leak in the mitral valve who are too high-risk for traditional open heart surgery. The condition, mitral valve regurgitation, is the most common form of heart valve disease. Previously, available choices for treatment have been mitral valve repair, a minimal surgical procedure or a more extensive surgery depending on the severity, and valve replacement. Medications have also been used to treat symptoms.

A leak in the mitral valve occurs when the flaps, or doors, do not close completely, allowing blood to flow back into the heart as it pumps. The heart has to work harder, as a result, to keep blood flowing and can raise the risk for life-threatening stroke and heart failure. When mitral valve regurgitation becomes severe, it can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life by causing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms. 

The small MitraClip® clip is guided into place using a thin tube (or catheter) guided through a small incision in a leg vein. The clip is then attached to the flaps of the mitral valve to help it close more completely and restore normal blood flow. Patients tend to have a short hospital stay and experience improved heart function and symptoms almost immediately.

For more information on MitraClip® please click here.