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MitraClip is performed on those with severe leaking of their mitral valve, known as mitral regurgitation (MR).

What is MR?

The mitral valve is on the left side of the heart. It is between the left atrium (top chamber) and the left ventricle (bottom chamber) of the heart. In a normally functioning mitral valve, blood flows in a single direction between the left atrium and left ventricle. When your mitral valve’s two leaflets (flaps of tissue) do not close properly, some blood flows backwards through the atrium into the left ventricle. This is called MR. To compensate and keep the blood flowing through the body, the left ventricle pumps harder. This strain can lead to heart complications and heart failure.

How do you know if you need mitral valve repair?

If your mitral valve is severely leaking and straining the heart muscle, you may need it repaired. Severe MR can lead to heart failure (difficulty managing the fluid volume within the body), resulting in shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen ankles and feet or even lightheadedness. Heart failure can lead to increased medical visits and hospital stays.

If this is the case, you may need an evaluation for repair of the mitral valve. Oftentimes, you will need an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) so we can better visualize the mitral valve and the severity of its leaking. If treatment is felt necessary, one treatment option may be the MitraClip procedure.

What is MitraClip?

In this minimally-invasive procedure, doctors guide a catheter through a vein in the leg to the mitral valve in the heart. A small metal clip is then attached to the mitral valve, enabling it to open and close more completely without leaking, restoring normal blood flow. MitraClip should decrease stress on the heart and relieve symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen feet and ankles.

Who is a MitraClip candidate?

MitraClip is used to treat MR in those who may be at high risk for open heart surgery. To determine if you are a candidate, you will need a full evaluation that would include 3D imaging studies and consultation with the Valve Clinic team. This information will determine if treatment is necessary and if MitraClip is an option.

Why undergo MitraClip?

If severe MR is left untreated, it can lead to heart failure, where the heart becomes weak, and the body can experience fluid overload. You may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen ankles and feet, and it may lead to frequent hospital stays. With MitraClip these symptoms can improve or resolve.

However, MitraClip is not always the best option for everyone. Our experienced team will make a recommendation on the best approach to your care based on a full assessment.

Why our program?

The MitraClip program began in 2015 at the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center. Our program continues to grow and is known for its great care and excellent outcomes. Our cardiologists take special interest in the awareness and treatment of mitral valve disease. Many people who have this disease are treated with medication only, but could be considered for possible mitral valve repair. Mitral valve regurgitation can be complex, but after full evaluation, our team can provide a treatment recommendation personalized to you.


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For more information about our Valve Clinic, call 320-293-0750 or email us.

Heart Structural Disease Providers