A new clinical trial offers hope for patients with leaky heart valves

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More than 2% of American adults have a leaky mitral valve and about 40,000 mitral valve surgeries are performed in the U.S every year, but, not everyone is a candidate.

People suffering MR unable to undergo open heart surgery to repair the leaky heart valve may now be eligible for a new clinical trial offered right here on the Suncoast.

The minimally invasive procedure to relieve symptoms of mitral regurgitation (MR) involves catheters and a special device called a MitraClip.

The journey begins through a vein in the groin.

A guide-wire and dilator paves the way for the catheter. The clip enters the left atrium and is positioned above the leak in the valve then the clip arms are opened.

Ultrasound imaging detects the severe MR and the clip is advanced into the left ventricle below the valve leaflets,

The clip is then retracted and closed to hold the leaflets together to reduce the MR. The clip can be adjusted for better placement if need be.

The two openings allow blood to flow on both sides of the clip.

The clip grasp and MR reduction are checked before the clip is deployed and the catheter removed.

The mitral valve is repaired without open heart surgery

This procedure is for severe leakage of the valve, and the hope is that the addition of the clip that will give patients a better quality of life and hopefully prolong life.

The criteria to be included in the mitral valve clip trial is pretty stringent. Only one of six patients may be eligible, and candidates are then picked through a random selection process.  Trials are being conducted at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

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