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Why Choose Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine is a national leader in MitraClip therapy, a catheter-based procedure used to treat severe mitral valve regurgitation or leaking. In 2003, a Penn cardiologist performed the second MitraClip procedure in the United States, and we continue to pioneer new uses for this treatment. Research and clinical trials conducted by Penn investigators were pivotal in the approval of MitraClip for all types of mitral regurgitation.

MitraClip Treatment Overview 

MitraClip is a nonsurgical option for high-risk patients who need mitral valve repair but are not candidates for mitral valve surgery. Using a catheter (a thin, flexible tube), your cardiologist places a clip on your mitral valve. The clip stops the leak by enabling your valve to close more completely. Penn cardiologists use MitraClip to treat two types of mitral regurgitation:

  • Degenerative (or primary) mitral regurgitation: Primary regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve itself is dysfunctional. The valve flaps may bulge or droop and do not close tightly.
  • Functional (or secondary) mitral regurgitation: An issue outside of the valve (such as disease of the left ventricle) causes the leakage. You may have normal valve flaps and still be diagnosed with functional mitral regurgitation.

MitraClip Procedure: What to Expect

A team of interventional cardiologists and imaging specialists work together to safely repair your mitral valve. You’ll be under general anesthesia for two to three hours. During the MitraClip procedure, your cardiologist:

  • Inserts a catheter (small tube) through a vein in your groin.
  • Uses advanced imaging to guide the catheter to your heart.
  • Places the clip on the mitral valve, securing it on the flaps or leaflets.
  • Assesses the function of the valve with the clip in place, making adjustments as needed.
  • Removes the catheter from your blood vessel.

Our cardiac team will closely monitor your recovery and comfort. Expect to feel better immediately after a successful procedure and spend only one to two days in the hospital. Your cardiologist will evaluate your valve one month after surgery and then perform yearly surveillance. You may need to add aspirin to your daily regimen and your current medications may be adjusted.

Benefits of MitraClip

The MitraClip procedure carries a low risk for complications. Benefits of mitral valve repair using MitraClip include:

  • Less invasive than traditional open-chest surgery
  • Avoids the need for heart-lung bypass
  • Immediate improvement in mitral regurgitation and associated symptoms 
  • Rapid recovery and return to daily living

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