CHI Memorial Offers "Breakthrough Technology That Corrects Heart Valve Leakage"

Monday, July 24, 2017
Samuel Ledford, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute
Samuel Ledford, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute
CHI Memorial and The Chattanooga Heart Institute are the first in the Chattanooga region to offer MitraClip – a breakthrough technology for people who suffer from mitral valve regurgitation but are too high risk for surgical valve repair or replacement.  MitraClip therapy is the world’s first transcatheter mitral valve repair – meaning no surgical incisions are needed to deliver this life changing therapy, officials said. 
Sometimes called a ‘leaky valve’, mitral valve regurgitation is a condition that affects the mitral valve, located between the left chambers of the heart.  Heart valves work like one-way gates, allowing blood to flow in one direction between the chambers of the heart and then on to fueling your brain and other parts of your body.
 When these gates don’t close properly, blood can flow backwards (or regurgitate) making the heart work harder to push blood through the body.
“We needed a therapy for mitral regurgitation that was much less invasive than open heart surgery – specifically for people who were too high risk for an open surgical procedure,” says Samuel Ledford, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute.  “MitraClip is still done under general anesthesia, but there’s no incision of the chest or stopping the heart. We go in through the leg, through blood vessels to the heart, and clip the leaflets of the mitral valve together. This helps stop the backward flow of blood and dramatically improves shortness of breath, fatigue and other symptoms of heart failure that prevent people from doing the things they love.”
"People with mitral regurgitation may not realize they have the condition, because it’s often mild and progresses slowly.  It’s often suspected when your doctor hears a heart murmur. Elderly people may not realize they suffer from the condition since they attribute their feelings of breathlessness and general decline to old age or other health issues. 
"When left untreated, mitral regurgitation continues to worsen – leading to complications including atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the arteries leading to the heart and lungs. 
"If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation and are not a candidate for open heart surgery, MitraClip may be an appropriate therapy.  MitraClip is FDA approved only for patients who are considered too sick for surgery.  CHI Memorial’s MitraClip team – including cardiac surgeons, imaging cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and nurse navigators – work together to determine what treatment is right for you based on your current health condition and the presence of one or more surgical risk factors," officials said.
“We have a strong collaboration between cardiac surgery and cardiology where we work together to determine the best course of treatment, and that team-based approach allows us to work closely together and offer advanced treatments that were not available just a short time ago,” says Allen Atchley, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute and chief of cardiac services at CHI Memorial.  “The Chattanooga Heart Institute is committed to providing the most cutting-edge treatments for cardiac conditions and improving the quality of life for people in the Chattanooga region.”
Unlike surgery, MitraClip doesn’t require opening the chest or stopping your heart. Most people who receive MitraClip spend one night in the hospital and are released to home the next day. Although you may feel better immediately after the procedure, doctors recommend taking it easy for five to seven days to allow the site where the catheter was inserted to heal properly. 
For more information or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation, call CHI Memorial’s MitraClip Valve coordinator at 423-495-4327.
Allen Atchley, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute and chief of cardiac services at CHI Memorial
Allen Atchley, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute and chief of cardiac services at CHI Memorial

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