About Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation is a common heart disorder that occurs when the mitral valve of the heart doesn’t close properly. When a person has mitral valve regurgitation, blood flows backward into the atrium—instead of forward into the ventricle—as the heart contracts. This abnormal blood flow signals the heart to pump harder to get more blood out and into the body, which causes stress on the body.

What are the signs and symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation?

How would you know if your heart isn’t pumping blood effectively? For some people, mitral valve regurgitation occurs suddenly after a heart attack or structural problem related to the mitral valve. For many others, though, symptoms develop gradually.

People with mitral valve regurgitation may experience:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly during activity or when lying down
  • Fatigue, particularly during activity
  • Heart murmurs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lightheadedness
  • Swollen feet or legs
What can happen if mitral valve regurgitation isn’t treated?

Only you and your cardiologist can determine the best next steps for your condition; however, mitral valve regurgitation can lead to more serious complications, like an enlarged heart or heart failure. Moreover, patients suffering from mitral valve regurgitation often report a significant improvement in their quality of life after treatment for the disorder.

MitraClip for Mitral Valve Regurgitation

A specialized treatment option for mitral valve regurgitation, MitraClip provides patients with a less invasive alternative than open heart surgery, limiting recovery times and providing an incredible option for so many patients who were not candidates for open surgery. These patients experience an improved quality of life and fewer hospitalizations for heart failure symptoms.

How does MitraClip work?

During the procedure, a skilled interventional cardiologist threads a small tube (called a catheter) to your heart through a vein in your groin.  Using the catheter, the cardiologist places a small clip or multiple clips on the mitral valve to lessen or eliminate leakage.

What does recovery look like after MitraClip?

Usually the procedure only takes one to three hours, and most patients will go home in one to three days. Most patients will feel a noticeable improvement in their day-to-day activities and quality of life after this surgery. However, we recommend that all of our patients who undergo MitraClip surgery enroll in our certified Cardiac Rehab program. This program is specially designed for patients with heart disease to help support better outcomes from their surgery and promote a longer, more fulfilling life.

How do I know if I should get Mitraclip or if I should have heart surgery?

Georgia Heart Institute offers leading expertise in mitral valve disease through our Structural Heart Center’s Mitraclip program and our nationally-renowned expertise in robotic mitral valve surgery. Ultimately, the option that is best for you will be determined between you, your family and your cardiologist, but our patients can rest assured knowing that they have access to some of the best options in the region to treat this disease.

It’s best to get started with our Structural Heart Center, and our doctors will refer you to one of our NGPG cardiothoracic surgeons if its determined that robotic mitral valve repair will lead to the best outcomes for you.

Why choose Georgia Heart Institute?

At Georgia Heart Institute, we have a specialized care team, including doctors specializing in structural heart disorders, a dedicated patient navigator and a program coordinator, all with specific expertise to help patients with complex heart conditions, like mitral valve regurgitation, find treatment options that can extend their life and improve their health.

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