Centers of Excellence

Heart & Vascular Center

MitraClip Procedure

Our Heart & Vascular Center is one of only a few New England centers with experts who perform percutaneous (minimally invasive) mitral valve repair to treat mitral regurgitation (MR). An estimated four million people in the United States have significant MR, and there are no medications that specifically treat or cure the condition.

When the mitral valve does not close properly, blood leaks back (regurgitates) into the upper chamber of the heart. This can cause the heart to pump harder, which may lead to congestive heart failure.

The FDA-approved MitraClip device offers a new treatment option for patients with severe MR (mitral regurgitation) who are not viable candidates for surgery. The MitraClip, the world’s first transcatheter mitral valve repair therapy, reduces regurgitation by tightening the mitral valve’s seal.

Other benefits demonstrated by this therapy include:

  • Patients who are treated with the MitraClip procedure tend to recover quicker, with less pain and discomfort, than patients who receive surgical treatment.
  • Patients are usually able to leave the hospital the next day and resume normal daily activities within 24-48 hours of the procedure.
  • Symptoms, such as shortness of breath and low pressure, have improved.
  • Hospitalizations for heart failure have been reduced.

Before MitraClip, the standard therapy for MR was open heart surgery, which requires using a heart-lung machine and stopping the heart to repair or replace the valve. The MitraClip therapy, however, is less complex and less invasive.

The MitraClip therapy represents a collaborative effort among our specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, cardiac anesthesia, and echocardiography. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the patient’s leg and guided through the femoral vein to the left atrium of the heart. The MitraClip is then introduced into the atrium and positioned where the leak is occurring. Once the clip is properly situated, the clip arms are closed to hold the two valve leaflets (flaps) together. If ultrasound imaging reveals that MR reduction could be improved, the clip can be released and repositioned.

Watch the animation for a simulation of the MitraClip procedure.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH