Cardiology - Main Campus
111 Colchester Avenue
Main Campus, McClure, Level 1
Burlington, VT 05401-1473
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Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair at the UVM Medical Center
If you have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation (MVR), a form of heart valve disease, transcatheter mitral valve repair (also known as Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair with MitraClip®, or TEER) is a non-surgical treatment option that can help improve your quality of life.
TEER reduces mitral valve leakage by partially closing the valve with a clip. It does not repair the leaky valve completely, but it should improve your symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue.
Heart and vascular specialists at The University of Vermont Medical Center are experts in TEER, performing the procedure in patients from across Vermont and northern New York.
As one of the leading heart and vascular programs in the region, we offer:
- Excellent outcomes: Our cardiology teams track all patient outcomes in national databases, and our results consistently meet and even exceed national benchmarks. When you come to the UVM Medical Center for a transcatheter mitral valve repair, you can feel confident that you have a partner with a proven track record.
- Advanced treatments: Surgeons at the UVM Medical Center stay at the leading edge of surgical care, continually implementing the latest techniques, including minimally invasive surgery. As an academic medical center, training residents and fellows is part of our mission. This teaching model demands that we refine our expertise in heart valve repair so we can train the next generation of physicians in the most current options.
- Patient-centered care: Exceptional care takes more than advanced technology — it also requires a team of skilled and compassionate experts who understand how and when to use that technology. Our team will get to know you and your priorities to find the treatment option that’s right for you.
Conditions We Treat with TMVR
Transcatheter mitral valve repair is used to treat heart valve disease, specifically mitral valve regurgitation. In this condition, the mitral valve leaks, letting blood flow backward into the heart each time it beats.
Doctors categorize mitral valve regurgitation into two types:
- Primary (degenerative) mitral valve regurgitation occurs when there is a physical problem with the mitral valve itself. For example, you may have mitral valve prolapse, a condition that causes the valve flaps to bulge into the upper heart chamber. Primary mitral valve regurgitation is treated by repairing or replacing the damaged mitral valve.
- Secondary (functional) mitral valve regurgitation occurs as the result of another condition. For example, a heart attack may cause your heart to swell and the mitral valve may have trouble closing fully. Treating secondary regurgitation requires first treating the underlying condition that caused it, before focusing on repairing the valve.
Not all patients with mitral valve regurgitation are eligible for TEER. To qualify, you must be:
- Experiencing symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, that are adversely affecting your quality of life and/or could lead to a heart attack or heart failure
- Deemed high risk for surgery, as determined by a cardiac surgeon, if you have primary mitral valve regurgitation
- Qualified for an optimized regimen of medication (if you have secondary mitral regurgitation)
What to Expect from the TMVR Procedure
For patients healthy enough for surgery, we offer both conventional and minimally invasive mitral valve surgery to repair or replace the valve.
Transcatheter edge-to-edge repair of the mitral valve reduces mitral valve leakage by using a clip (MitraClip™) that resembles a small clothespin to hold the valve partially closed.
In this procedure, your cardiologist:
- Places a percutaneous catheter (a long, thin tube inserted through your skin) into a blood vessel in your groin. This catheter holds a clip. Your cardiologist moves the catheter through the blood vessel until it reaches your heart.
- Pinch parts of the loose valve together with the clip, through the catheter. This tightens the valve, but because it leaves gaps on either side of the clip, it does not completely stop leakage.
- Ensures optimal placement, using echocardiography (ultrasound imaging). They will watch how the blood flows during each heartbeat to determine if the clip has stopped enough leakage. If it hasn’t, they will reposition the clip or add another.
TEER is a non-surgical outpatient procedure that typically takes between two and three hours. You will need to spend one or two nights in the hospital after the procedure for monitoring.
For TMVR Medical Professionals
The best treatment options for patients with symptomatic MVR is surgical repair of the valve or valve replacement. Unfortunately, not all patients are good candidates for these minimally invasive surgeries.
TMVR may be an option for a patient whose quality of life is seriously affected by MVR symptoms and who cannot tolerate surgery. Benefits include:
- Increased mobility and endurance: Shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness can limit your patients' daily activities. Most patients see improvements in these symptoms after the procedure.
- Improved general health: With the improvement in MVR symptoms, your patients may see improvements in their general health as they become more active.