Why are patients referred for MitraClip?
The Mitraclip device is used to correct leakiness of the mitral valve,
also known as mitral regurgitation. When the heart pumps, the mitral valve
ensures that all blood moves forward into the body. With severe mitral
regurgitation, as much as 50% of the blood is pumped backward. This can
lead to buildup of fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath, fatigue, and
swelling in the legs.
What are the steps prior to the procedure?
Prior to Mitraclip, all patients will have a Transesophageal Echocardiogram
(TEE). This is a specialized ultrasound procedure used to evaluate the
mitral valve. During TEE, a small ultrasound probe is inserted into the
esophagus where very clear pictures of the mitral valve are obtained.
An anesthesiologist is present to administer deep sedation, ensuring that
patients are comfortable during the exam. The procedure takes around 30
minutes, and patients can go home after waking up from sedation.
After the TEE, patients consult with a cardiac surgeon, as some candidates
may be better served by open heart surgery. The cardiac team will work
together to decide what the best course of action is.
How is the procedure performed?
General anesthesia is used in all cases to ensure the patient is comfortable
during the procedure. A small catheter (tube) is inserted into the femoral
vein, which is a blood vessel near the hip. The MitraClip device is then
advanced through the femoral vein and up into the patient’s heart.
The clip is then carefully positioned under the leaky portion of the mitral
valve and used to bring the leaky valve leaflets together. Once the appropriate
position is confirmed, the clip is left in place and will decrease or
eliminate the leaking blood.
What is the recovery from a Mitraclip procedure?
After the procedure, patients lie flat for 4-5 hours, and can then can
sit upright in a chair. The majority of our patients are discharged after
a one night observation in the hospital.
After discharge, patients can resume everyday activity, including walking.
We recommend no heavy lifting for at least one week to give the artery
time to heal. Bruising around the femoral artery is normal, as a small
amount of blood may leak out into the soft tissue. This blood will be
totally recycled, but it may take 3-4 weeks for the discoloration from
bruising to resolve. It is ok to shower, but we recommend avoiding a bath
until the puncture site has healed.
St. Joseph Hospital Mitraclip Program
Dr. Aidan R. Raney performs Mitraclip procedures at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. This is
the highest volume program in Orange County; Dr. Raney performs around
75 MitraClip procedures per year.