Henry Ford Hospital Tests New Procedure for Leaky Mitral Valves

October 14, 2013

DETROIT – Henry Ford Hospital cardiologists are testing a minimally invasive procedure to repair leaking heart valves for those who cannot have open-heart surgery.

As part of an investigational study, cardiologists are using a new device called the MitraClip® which is inserted through a catheter to restore proper function to the ailing mitral valve. The procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure in a cardiac catheterization lab.

It is conservatively estimated that there are 500,000 people in the U.S. with leaky heart valves, who are not candidates for surgery.

As people live longer, disease of the heart valves is becoming more common. Mitral valve leakage is the most common valve condition. Surgery to treat the condition is effective but can be risky for elderly patients or patients with additional medical conditions.

The mitral valve connects the left upper (atrium) and lower (ventricle) chambers of the heart. With a need for less-invasive treatment, catheter-based mitral valve repair techniques have been developed.

“Repairing a leaky mitral valve previously required an open-heart procedure, and in one method, surgeons created a double, or ‘bow-tie,’ opening with stitches,” says Adam Greenbaum, M.D., director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Henry Ford Hospital.

“In this study, we are using a new device called the MitraClip. It is inserted through a vein in the leg via a catheter and attached in the center of the mitral valve, creating the same type of closure as the more invasive surgical procedure and restoring proper function to the valve.”

The metal clip is covered with a polyester fabric to promote healing.

John MacCallum of Warren had high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat - which caused difficulty breathing and walking. The 77-year-old former construction worker had undergone multiple heart procedures, but his diagnosis was “failure to thrive” before he came to Henry Ford Hospital.

After undergoing the procedure, MacCallum is making substantial progress in cardiac rehabilitation.

Patients with moderate to severe valve leakage despite optimal medical therapy, and who are extremely high-risk for mitral valve surgery, are potential candidates for the procedure.

Management of heart disease and heart valve disease is projected to be a large part of health care for seniors. Advancements in treatment have led to catheter-based approaches for the correction of heart valve disease and may offer potential therapy for those who have no other options.

The MitraClip device is manufactured by Abbott.

For more information, or an appointment, call (313) 916-1534.