What is the MitraClip?
The MitraClip (sometimes called mitraclip or mitral clip) is a modern treatment for mitral valve regurgitation for patients who cannot undergo open-heart surgery. It is inserted via a catheter, which is fed through a vein to the heart, using echocardiography and fluoroscopy imaging to guide the surgeon. It is clipped onto the mitral valve, allowing it to close more completely, thus restoring normal blood flow.
Why is the MitraClip used?
A Mitraclip helps the mitral valve to function properly. The mitral valve is responsible for regulating the blood flow between the left atrium and the left ventricle and acts as a barrier, blocking blood so that it does not return to the heart during contraction. When the two ends of the valve do not close completely, due to physical anomalies, infectious or degenerative diseases, the blood partially flows backwards, causing disturbances in the functioning of the circulatory system. The Micraclip is particularly useful for patients suffering from:
- Severe and degenerative mitral insufficiency with mitral valve abnormalities that make surgery particularly dangerous
- Severe mitral insufficiency with anomalies in the left ventricle that result in poor functioning of the mitral valve, causing heart failure
- Combined mitro-aortic valve disease
How is the MitrClip inserted?
During the Mitraclip procedure, a special instrument is inserted through the femoral vein (in the thigh), which is guided through the right atrium of the heart and the atrial septum up to the mitral valve. The instrument is able to grasp the ends of the mitral valve and place a clip that acts as a suture to achieve perfect closure of the valve itself, thus avoiding the "suction" effect of the blood during the contraction of the heart. Thanks to the help of an ultrasound during the treatment, the specialist can act with extreme precision.
Preparation for MitraClip surgery
Before performing the treatment, the specialist must perform an echocardiographic examination of the transesophageal tract and a radiographic examination in order to evaluate possible unknown anatomical variations. Any further pre-procedure preparation required will be thoroughly discussed between the specialist and patient beforehand.
After the operation, the patient is kept under observation in hospital and discharged within five days. Additional post-operative care is usually not necessary. Thanks to this intervention, the symptoms of heart failure are greatly reduced, thus helping to improve the general quality of life of patients.