July 12, 2013 — Virginia Anderer, a Chicago native living in southern California, was the first patient in San Diego and at Scripps Health to receive a MitraClip as part of the clinical outcomes assessment of the MitraClip Percutaneous Therapy for High Surgical Risk Patients (COAPT) trial. The MitraClip device is designed to reduce significant mitral regurgitation by clipping together the leaflets of the mitral valve.
“Traditionally, there have been no good treatment options available for patients like Mrs. Anderer, who suffer from significant mitral regurgitation and are too high risk for surgery,” said Matthew Price, M.D., who implanted the MitraClip device as principal investigator for COAPT at Scripps Clinic. “Now, using advanced imaging techniques and catheters, we were able to repair Mrs. Anderer’s leaking heart valve without the need for open-heart surgery.”
Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the most common type of heart valve defect, affecting approximately one in 10 people aged 75 years and older. The condition occurs when the leaflets of the mitral valve do not close completely, causing blood to flow backward and leak into the left atrium of the heart during each heartbeat.
To maintain an adequate forward flow of blood throughout the body, the heart compensates by increasing the size of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart. This requires the heart to work harder, and may ultimately lead to irregular heartbeats, stroke, heart attack or death. MR may also lead to heart failure, a potentially deadly condition that occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to distribute blood flow to meet the needs of the body.
In Anderer’s case, she was experiencing significant shortness of breath that was getting progressively worse and having a detrimental effect on her quality of life. She was no longer benefiting from medication, and because of her age and medical history, open-heart surgery was not an option. The retired nurse underwent the procedure on June 14 at Scripps Green Hospital and was discharged two days later.
Manufactured by Abbott, MitraClip therapy is designed to reduce MR and provide clinical and quality-of-life benefits for patients suffering from the debilitating symptoms of significant MR by clipping together a portion of the leaflets of the mitral valve. The device is delivered to the heart through the femoral vein in the leg.
“By reducing MR, the hope is that this therapy may allow the heart to recover from overwork and improve function, potentially halting the progression of heart failure and enabling patients to live a higher-quality life,” said Price.
MitraClip is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is commercially available in approximately 30 countries. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2012 heart failure guidelines and the ESC/European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery 2012 guidelines for the management of valvular heart disease specify the MitraClip device as a treatment option for high surgical risk patients with MR.