Fixing Leaky Heart Valves One Clip at a Time

Posted on May 4, 2016

Heart ImagePhysicians at Alta Bates Summit’s Cardiovascular Center now perform a minimally invasive heart-valve repair that shortens recovery time and improves quality of life for patients at too high risk for open heart surgery.

In February, the team treated their first two patients with the MitraClip® system that repairs the mitral valve in patients with severe degenerative mitral regurgitation. The procedure allows physicians to repair the mitral valve without requiring patients to undergo traditional open-heart surgery.

“This minimally invasive heart procedure shortens recovery time and ultimately improves quality of life for those experiencing life-altering symptoms like extreme fatigue and shortness of breath,” says Jeff Retherford, Alta Bates Summit’s director of cardiovascular services.

Heart-valve repair

Heart-valve repair

Mitral regurgitation is the medical term for leakage in the valve between the chambers on the left side of the heart that allows blood to slip back into the upper chamber with each heart beat. The dime-sized clip – inserted via catheter — can clamp an improperly working valve, fix the leakage and allow blood to travel efficiently between the two chambers.

“Patients that undergo this surgery typically experience significant improvement in their symptoms of MR after the procedure,” says Leo Dominguez, Alta Bates Summit’s administrative director for professional, cardiovascular and rehabilitation services.

The physician team overseeing this program is led by interventional cardiologists David Daniels, M.D., and Mitul Kadakia, M.D. and cardiothoracic surgeon, Russell Stanten, M.D. Within Sutter Health, only Alta Bates Summit and Sutter Sacramento perform the MitraClip® surgery. Patients from as far away as Stockton and Marin County are coming to the Summit Campus in Oakland for this procedure.

“Symptoms begin resolving almost immediately, with patients frequently leaving the hospital in just two days. The improvement in heart function is quite remarkable,” says Retherford.

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