Courtesy of www.cardio.com
MitraClip Repair is a novel therapeutic modality using a catheter to repair leaky mitral valves. There are specific conditions which allow patients to be candidates for this. Ask your doctor for more information of centers that provide that technology. Watch this short video to see how its done.
While OPEN surgical replacement of the Mitral Valve is the standard of care, innovation in catheter based technology has allowed for researchers to develop a valve which can be used to treat patients suffering of mitral valve stenosis without the need of opening the sternunm.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently allowed the use of these devices is certain groups of patients. These specifically include patients with:
There are ongoing trials (studies) looking at the use of these devices for patients who have not had prior open valve repairs or replacements. Ask your doctor for a list of programs in your area that provide this therapy.
This short video shows you how a catheter based, or percutaneous, valve is placed.
How to Diagnose Mitral Valve Stenosis
The diagnosis of Mitral Valve Stenosis can be suspected by a couple of studies:
The above studies are commonly obtained as part of the effort as to trying to sort out the patients symptoms and are routinely done in patients who have cardiac symptoms.
The diagnosis of Mitral Valve Stenosis is can be commonly made by performing an ECHOCARDIOGRAM. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound study of the heart. With it we can examine the heart valves and heart chambers. The echocardiogram helps establishing the severity of mitral valve stenosis, are there any other valves are affected, and helps guide as to what is the best therapy.
Keep in mind all of these studies may not be conclusive and results can vary depending on a number of factors.
Natural History of the Disease
Symptoms of Mitral Valve Stenosis may take years to develop. Complications associated to Mitral Valve Stenosis include some of the following
Patients affected by Mitral Valve Stenosis typically develop symptoms (Symptomatic). These typically develop during exertion or conditions which stress the body. Sometimes symptoms will go un-noticed by patients justifying them as part of getting older or some other disease.
Some of the symptoms can be confused for pneumonia or a upper respiratory illness. Mitral Valve Stenosis can produced any of the following symptoms alone or in combination:
Watch this short video from the American Heart Association comparing a normal Mitral Valve to a stenotic one.
Mitral valve stenosis can arise following an infection with a bacteria called streptococcus. This bacteria is associated to strep throat and scarlet fever. If either of these infections are untreated they can lead to a serious condition called rheumatic fever which is an inflammatory/immune condition which affects the heart and joints.
Now a days rheumatic fever not as common as it used to be thanks to tests that lead to the early recognition of the bacteria and the prompt use of antibiotics. However, rheumatic fever is still prominent in underdeveloped countries.
Other causes of Mitral Valve stenosis include cancers, radiation to the chest (radiation heart disease), and conditions which cause calcium to lay onto valves.
Ever wonder what Mitral Valve stenosis looks like? Watch this short video to get an idea.
Notice how stiff the anterior and posterior leaflets are. Additionally, look at the small opening caused by the thickened leaflets. Finally, notice how part of the disease process is leaflet fusion which the surgeon points to in the video.