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Cutting edge procedure offered by Wheeling’s structural heart team

WHEELING — The structural heart team at Wheeling Hospital can now treat patients with severe mitral regurgitation who are at high risk for surgery, using a minimally invasive transcatheter mitral valve repair technology called the MitraClip.

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve does not close properly, allowing blood to leak back into the upper chamber on the left side of the heart.

It is the most common disease of the heart valves. It causes symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue and cough, and can lead to an overall weakening of the heart and atrial fibrillation.

Until recently, the only treatments for this condition were open heart surgery and medications. Patients determined to be at a high or prohibitive risk for open heart surgery and who were intolerant of medications had no options. However, these patients now have hope for symptom relief and improved survival because of the MitraClip.

The MitraClip device first gained FDA approval for the treatment of primary, or degenerative, severe MR. However strong evidence from clinical trials also showed improved survival, improved quality of life and decreased hospitalizations in patients with systolic heart failure and secondary MR when compared to treatment with medication alone. This led to the FDA expanding its indication to include those patient in March.

On Nov. 21, the Wheeling Hospital Structural Heart Team lead by Dr. Triston Smith, chief of Cardiology and clinical director of Structural Heart and CHIP Interventions, successfully performed two MitraClip procedures.

The team also includes interventional cardiologists Drs. Gregory Suero and Deepak Hooda, as well as cardiothoracic surgeons Drs. David Haybron, Victor Maevsky and Howard Shackelford.

“Some patients with severe MR are not candidates for surgery because of advanced age, frailty, multiple comorbidities and/or other complicating factors,” Smith said. “The MitraClip therapy offers a unique minimally invasive alternative. This therapy builds on the experience we have in treating patients with complex cardiovascular conditions in a coordinated, multidisciplinary and patient centric manner. It demonstrates once again the commitment we have as physicians, and as a cardiovascular department, to providing the absolute best cardiovascular care to the patients of the upper Ohio Valley and beyond.”

The implanted MitraClip, delivered using a catheter through a vein in the groin, grasps both the anterior and posterior leaflets of the mitral valve, creating a bridge. This causes a reduction in the amount of leaking.

The end results are improved quality of life, improvement in symptoms, decreased chance of being hospitalized, favorable reduction in heart size, improvement in heart shape, reduction in MR and avoidance of high risk or prohibitive surgery.

“Treatment with MitraClip provides almost immediate symptom relief, and patients are released from the hospital on average after two days and are able to resume their daily activities with very minimal downtime,” Smith said.

With the addition of the MitraClip procedure, Wheeling Hospital has a full-fledged structural heart program providing complex high risk coronary interventions, trans catheter aortic valve replacement, left atrial appendage occlusion (Watchman), percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure, percutaneous atrial septal defect closure, percutaneous closure of paravalvular leaks and now TMVr with the MitraClip.

“This is exciting news for our community as we are adding another minimally invasive way to treat valvular heart disease. We now have a full- service structural heart program and can deal with any structural heart issue here at Wheeling Hospital,” said Crystal Pietranton, NP, structural heart coordinator at Wheeling Hospital.

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