HARRISBURG — Two PinnacleHealth cardiologists performed a heart valve repair surgery that is the first of its kind in the Midstate.
On May 20, Dr. Brijeshwar Maini and Dr. Mubashir Mumtaz used the MitraClip procedure to repair the leaky mitral valve in a patient once considered too weak for open heart surgery. Maini said the procedure is the first of many to determine whether or not the MitraClip will be a successful treatment option for patients with mitral regurgitation (MR).
“MR means leakage of the valve between the upper and lower chamber of the heart,” Maini said. “Patients can go into heart failure. It’s a major problem in our aging population. The usual treatment is open heart surgery and a major repair of the valve.”
Some patients, however, don’t show enough symptoms to warrant surgery or are too weak, Maini said.
The MitraClip works by “clipping” shut the mitral heart valve, which in patients with MR, does not close properly, allowing blood pumping through the heart to leak into the chambers of the heart and causing a range of symptoms — from irregular heartbeat to stroke to heart attack and death.
Maini said the new procedure has the potential to reduce morbidity, hospital admissions and readmissions for MR patients.
“We don’t know what the results will be,” he said. “Our hypothesis is that this will work.”
The MitraClip procedure will be used to repair leaky heart valves in about 400 patients across 75 different hospitals nationwide.
If successful, Maini said it will be several years before the procedure would be available for widespread use.
“This new, cutting-edge technique may offer high-risk heart failure patients, who previously didn’t have many options, the opportunity for an improved quality of life,” Maini said. “It may help patients avoid hospitalizations. They want to breathe easier and live better, and we may be able to give them that if the trial yields positive results.”
The MitraClip procedure includes a “catheter-based device” that enters the heart through the femoral vein, located in the leg. Maini said the MitraClip is less invasive than traditional open heart surgery and involves a shorter hospital stay.