UVa Researchers Using New Device to Treat Heart Valves

Nov. 13, 2013

Researchers at the University of Virginia participate in a new, minimally invasive procedure to treat patients with leaking heart valves.

The new procedure repairs the mitral valve, which regulates blood flow between chambers of the heart. Degenerative mitral valves cause severe mitral regurgitation, which occurs when blood flows backward into the heart. Left untreated, severe mitral regurgitation can lead to heart failure and death.

UVa Health System is among the first hospitals in the country to use Abbott’s MitraClip® device to repair the mitral valve in patients with severe degenerative mitral regurgitation.

“Patients whose health would not allow them to undergo surgery haven’t previously had a treatment option for their mitral regurgitation,” said UVa interventional cardiologist Scott Lim, MD, who led the study. “This study demonstrated that the MitraClip is a viable treatment for this life-threatening condition.”

Patients in the study were at high risk for open heart surgery to replace their mitral valve due to one or more risk factors, such as frailty or additional severe medical conditions.

The study examined the safety and effectiveness of the MitraClip, inserted through a catheter that reaches the patient’s heart through a small leg incision.

More than 95 percent of patients in the study had a MitraClip successfully inserted, and patients saw health improvements in several areas, including: Reduction in hospitalizations for heart failure; Improvement in heart function.

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