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Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)

The mitral valve lies between the left atrium and the left ventricle and is one of the heart’s four valves. It opens to allow blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle and prevents the backward flow of blood. When the mitral valve isn’t working properly, surgery may be necessary. Open-heart surgery often provides effective treatment for mitral valve problems, but some people cannot undergo this operation. Transcatheter mitral valve repair is a minimally invasive alternative. A small implanted clip, called a MitraClip™, is attached to the mitral valve to help it close more completely. 

Conditions Treated 

When your heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close properly, it can allow blood to flow backward in your heart—this is known as mitral valve regurgitation. Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) is done to treat severe mitral valve regurgitation and improve your heart’s function. 

Procedure Details 

To perform TMVR, a small incision is made in the groin to access the femoral vein. A guide wire and catheter are threaded toward the heart and into the left atrium. The MitraClip™ is guided through the catheter and into the atrium, where the clip’s arms are placed over the valve’s two flaps. The clip’s arms are then closed to clip the flaps together, creating two small channels that prevent the backflow of blood.  

What to Expect 

TMVR has many benefits. Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, it does not require opening the chest or stopping the heart. This allows for a quicker procedure and shorter recovery time.  

For asymptomatic patients undergoing TMVR, the operative risk is approximately 1 in 1000. Risk in symptomatic patients remains well under 1%. 

Effectiveness 

Mitral valve repair is the best option for nearly all patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation. After TMVR, 95% of patients are free of reoperation at 10 years, and this statistic is approximately 90% at 20 years.