The mitral valve is located between the two chambers on the left side of the heart which directs blood flow in one direction - from the upper chamber (left atrium) to the lower chamber (left ventricle). When this valve does not close completely, mitral valve regurgitation or backflow of blood in the left ventricle occurs. In severe cases, reduced blood flow is pumped out of the heart. This creates excessive workload on the heart leading to dilation of the heart chambers. If left untreated, it can result in heart failure.
There are currently several options of treatment available for mitral valve regurgitation. These include medical treatment, surgery, or less invasive valve repair such as the mitraclip therapy.
What can I expect before the procedure?
Some investigations would need to be performed before the procedure. These include but are not limited to a transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiogram (ultrasound test for the heart). These 2 tests will allow more accurate assessment of the mitral valve to determine if mitraclip therapy is suitable. Other tests such as coronary angiograms, electrocardiograms, chest X-rays and blood tests may also be needed prior to the procedure.
The mitraclip therapy procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes approximately 3 to 4 hours. A catheter (long thin flexible tube) is guided through the femoral (leg) vein to reach the heart. The clip is delivered through the catheter to the region of the mitral valve. Upon reaching the mitral valve, it clips the mitral valve to allow it to close better. The clip is left on the mitral valve while the rest of the delivery system and the catheter are removed.
What happens after the procedure?
After mitraclip therapy procedure, you will be transferred to the cardiac monitoring unit for a day. After this, your cardiologist would review you and may transfer you to the regular hospital ward for the next 2 days before discharge. Additional tests would be performed after the mitraclip therapy procedure. These include a repeat transthoracic echocardiogram, blood tests and a chest X-ray. You may also be given blood thinners such as aspirin and or clopidogrel for six months.