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MitraClip Procedure

Transcatheter mitral valve repair with the MitraClip device is used to treat severe, symptomatic mitral regurgitation.

In people with this condition, the mitral valve does not close tightly enough. As a result, blood that is supposed to flow out of the heart to the body leaks back up — or regurgitates — into the heart and lungs. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath (dyspnea), fatigue and a rapid, fluttering heartbeat.

The MitraClip — a small metal clip covered with polyester fabric — is attached to the mitral valve, enabling it to open and close more completely without leaking. This helps to restore normal blood flow.

Because it is placed using a minimally invasive approach, MitraClip may be a good option for people who are not eligible for traditional open surgery because of their age or health.

Interventional cardiologists at the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease have been leaders in clinical trials that helped bring this innovative procedure — the first transcatheter approach for mitral valve repair — to patients.

How does the MitraClip work?

The standard treatment for severe mitral regurgitation is to repair or replace the mitral valve with open heart surgery. Transcatheter mitral valve repair does not require opening up your chest.

Here’s how it works:

  • The interventional cardiologist accesses the mitral valve by threading a thin catheter through a vein in your leg and up into your heart.
  • The MitraClip is delivered to the valve through the catheter.
  • The interventional cardiologist clips together a small area of the mitral valve. The valve then opens and closes on either side of the clip, allowing blood to flow through but reducing the flow of blood in the wrong direction.

The average hospital stay for this procedure is just two to three days. Your symptoms should improve or go away shortly after the clip is in place.

Am I a good candidate for MitraClip?

If you have been diagnosed with mitral regurgitation, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist who specializes in treating heart valve diseases, like the experts at the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease.

At the center, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons pool their expertise to diagnose and treat mitral regurgitation. You will have any necessary diagnostic tests, meet with the team and receive a customized treatment plan — all during the same visit.

Many factors go into the decision about which valve repair/replacement procedure is right for you, including your age, overall health and personal health goals. These are some reasons MitraClip may be a good option:

  • You are too sick or frail to undergo open heart surgery.
  • You are experiencing significant symptoms.
  • There are anatomical issues with your mitral valve, such as a valve opening that is too small, that may prevent proper placement and positioning of the MitraClip device.
  • You have other medical conditions that increase the risks associated with open heart surgery.

Why choose Rush for the MitraClip Procedure

  • Expertise you can trust: Specialists at the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease have decades of experience helping to develop new treatments for heart valve disease in adults, including mitral regurgitation. This includes participating in clinical trials that led to MitraClip receiving FDA approval.
  • Same-day treatment plans: At the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease, you will meet with a team of specialists — including an interventional cardiologist, cardiac surgeon and echocardiographer — at the same time. For your convenience, the team will customize a treatment plan and present it to you during that same visit.
  • State-of-the-art facilities: Transcatheter mitral valve replacement and other procedures used to treat heart valve diseases are performed in Rush's interventional platform, a multi-use space where surgical and catheter-based procedures are centralized to allow specialists to collaborate more easily and ensure convenience for patients and families.