Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (MitraClip)

Fixing a leaky heart valve doesn’t have to mean open heart surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe mitral valve regurgitation, transcatheter mitral valve repair might be a solution.

During this minimally invasive procedure, your interventional cardiologist fixes your leaky valve with a procedure that places a clip on the valve.

The clip can reduce your risk of dying or being hospitalized because of heart failure. It can also improve your quality of life by reducing symptoms like fatigue, swelling, and shortness of breath.

Our approach to transcatheter mitral valve repair

University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center interventional cardiologists use a procedure called MitraClip. We do more of these procedures than anyone else in the state, and we’ve been performing them longer.

Our high volume of procedures plus our years of experience mean excellent outcomes for our patients.

Improving and lengthening life

The tiny clip is smaller than a dime and grips the flaps of your heart’s leaky mitral valve and helps them close completely. This stops the leakage, or regurgitation, that makes your heart work harder and causes a variety of symptoms and other heart problems.

Data collected in 2019 show that people who get a MitraClip report improved quality of life. On average, they also live more than a year longer than people being treated with medication alone.

Offering the full range of valve repair options

As an academic medical center, we’re participating in research on the next generation of mitral valve repair devices.

We give you access to the widest range of the most advanced treatments for all types of structural heart and valve disease.

What to expect with MitraClip

During your MitraClip procedure

On average, a transcatheter mitral valve repair procedure takes about two hours. During that time:

  • You’ll be placed under general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep.
  • Your interventional cardiologist will make a small incision in a vein near your groin and insert a tube called a catheter into the incision.
  • The catheter will be threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. When the catheter reaches the right spot, your cardiologist will place the MitraClip through it.
  • When the clip is in place and helping your mitral valve close more tightly, the catheter will be removed from your leg and the incision closed.

After your MitraClip procedure

  • Most people feel better immediately after the procedure.
  • Depending on your overall health, you could recover in the hospital for one to five days.
  • After you get home, you’ll need to limit your physical activity for about a month.

You may be prescribed medication, such as blood thinners.

Are you a candidate for transcatheter mitral valve repair?

Transcatheter mitral valve repair can be used as an alternative to open heart surgery for anyone with severe mitral valve regurgitation.

Your team of UI Heart and Vascular Center experts includes cardiologists, heart surgeons, and imaging specialists. They’ll run tests, including an echocardiogram and chest X-ray, to look at your heart structure and blood flow. They’ll review the results together and discuss the best treatment options for you.

Alternatives to transcatheter mitral valve repair

If your mitral regurgitation is mild and not causing problems, your cardiologist may decide to monitor it with regular testing.

Medications may be able to reduce the symptoms and risks of mitral regurgitation. These include:

  • Blood pressure medication to treat high blood pressure, which makes mitral valve regurgitation worse
  • Blood thinners to help prevent blood clots
  • Diuretics that help decrease fluid buildup in your legs or lungs

Open heart surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve may be an option if your care team decides that transcatheter repair isn’t right for you. For example, it’s not recommended if you’re not able to take blood thinners.

Do you have moderate to severe mitral valve regurgitation?

MitraClip might be right for you. We'll connect you with a highly trained valve repair specialist.

National leaders in heart valve care

UI Health Care was the first health system in the nation to earn the Joint Commission's Disease-Specific Care Certification for cardiac valve repair and replacement. The commission is the accrediting agency for health care organizations in the United States.