A new tiny device - MitraClip, offers hope for a better life for people with severe heart failure. It reduces hospitalization rates and improves mortality risk within two years of treatment, a new study of the University of Washington finds.
One cause of severe heart failure is a leaky valve, particularly the leakage of the mitral valve, which controls the blood flow in the left part of the heart. When leakage is severe, the heart can enlarge. Drugs are available to ease the symptoms of a mitral valve leak, but long-term effects are unknown, the authors write. Surgery is also an option, and it can be curative, but it brings a significant risk of complications, as patients are often older and more fragile.
A new device - MitraClip - clips the defective valve together, helping it work properly and pumping blood out of the heart. It has now shown promising results in the study, CNN reports.
Implanting the MitraClip is minimally invasive, with the device transferred through a small incision in the groin, and has now been shown to reduce recovery time and hospitalization, according to the study.
To measure the effectiveness of the device, Dr. Greg Stone, professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians, and his team enrolled 614 patients from the US and Canada with heart failure and moderate to severe secondary mitral valve regurgitation - and leaky mitral valve --who continued to have symptoms despite being on drug treatment for their condition. The secondary form of the condition is when a person's left ventricle is damaged, preventing the valve from functioning properly.
Of the participants, 302 were given the new device and 312 acted as controls. Among those who received the MitraClip, there were 32.1% fewer hospitalizations per year within years of follow-up.
Overall mortality from any cause within those two years was also 17% lower among patients who were implanted with the device compared to the control group, at 29.1% and 46.1%, respectively.
The MitraClip technique was first pioneered in 2003 and approved by the FDA in October 2013 to treat the primary (or degenerative) form of mitral regurgitation