A percutaneous paravalvular leak closure is a minimally invasive procedure. It is used to address a problem that affects some patients who have undergone valve replacement surgery: paravalvular leak (PVL), which is when a space forms between natural heart tissue and the valve replacement. PVL may cause symptoms of heart failure, such as unexplained weight gain, shortness of breath or swelling of the legs and feet. It can also lead to a severe type of anemia called hemolytic anemia that requires frequent blood transfusions or infective endocarditis, an infection in the lining of the heart. The skilled surgeons and cardiovascular specialists at Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute have vast experience treating all types of heart conditions, including PVL, and offer the percutaneous paravalvular leak closure procedure. We are committed to delivering world-class outcomes for our patients.
PVL may occur after certain valve repair or replacement procedures, such as:
- Mitral valve replacement
- Aortic valve replacement
- Tricuspid valve replacement
- Valve repair surgery
- Percutaneous valve implantation
Here’s what to expect during this procedure:
- A surgeon will insert a catheter into a blood vessel near the groin.
- The catheter will be guided to the heart using imaging technology, and then a wire will be released from the catheter to reach the left atrium (upper left chamber of the heart) through the septum.
- After that, a closure device will be placed around the leak to act as a plug, effectively stopping the leak.
What to Expect
Traditionally, patients with paravalvular leaks had to undergo additional heart surgery. Now, with the minimally invasive percutaneous paravalvular leak closure procedure, patients can experience quicker recoveries, shorter hospital stays and less postoperative pain when compared to traditional heart surgery. What’s more, this procedure also provides fast relief from symptoms—a welcome benefit for anyone dealing with heart failure or severe anemia.
At TGH, we often recommend this procedure to patients with PVL, as it has a significantly improved morbidity rate over traditional heart surgery. It’s also highly effective at providing symptom relief. In one study of patients with percutaneous PVL closures, nearly 75% of participants reported none or mild symptoms at their final follow-up.