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Taking It to Heart

Many of us would agree that surgery is not the most pleasant experience. Open heart surgery? Not only is this surgery unpleasant but is also one of the more dangerous surgical procedures. For those individuals with mitral valve regurgitation, a condition in which a dysfunctional, weak mitral valve allows a backflow of blood to the heart, there is another choice: the Mitra Clip.

The Mitra Clip procedure, though still undergoing clinical trials, has dramatically reduced the time necessary for recovery in comparison to open heart surgery. In a two-hour undertaking, cardiologists insert the clip through a catheter from the groin – specifically, the femoral artery – to the heart. At the heart, the clip restricts the loose valves and prevents unnecessary movements of blood in the heart. Patients who have undergone the Mitra Clip procedure have reported relief from symptoms such as “fatigue, exercise intolerance, shortness of breath and swelling” (George Hanzel, M.D.). For those with a weak heart, this alternative to open heart surgery could be a lifesaver.


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