McLaren Flint Structural Heart Team First In Region To Perform Two Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures


McLaren Flint Structural Heart Team First In Region To Perform Two Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures

MitraClip, a transcatheter mitral valve repair procedure, was first performed by the structural heart team at McLaren Flint on January 30, 2020, making it the first hospital in Genesee County to perform this procedure.

The MitraClip is a less invasive treatment option for patients experiencing mitral regurgitation who are at high risk for open-heart surgery. It works by placing a small clip on the mitral valve, closing the gap through which blood is leaking and thus improving normal flow of blood through the heart.

"This is a very innovative technology that is less invasive than traditional open-heart surgery where we have to open up the patient's chest," said Ahmad Munir, MD, Director of Structural Heart Disease. "Instead, we use a catheter placed through a vein in the groin which is guided up to the left atrium of a patient's heart and then through the interatrial septum. The MitraClip is a small clip that is moved up through this catheter into the left atrium. Once there, the clip is opened above the mitral valve and placed across the valve at the site of the leak. Then, with X-ray fluoroscopic and echocardiographic guidance, the clip is precisely positioned and closed on the valve leaflets, pinching the gap at the site of the maximum leak."

The small hole in the interatrial septum used to advance the delivery catheter heals quickly by itself. Once the clip is deployed, over time the body's tissue grows over it, making it part of the natural valve's anatomy. This minimally invasive procedure allows the patient to leave the hospital in 2-3 days, while experiencing improvement in their symptoms almost immediately after the procedure is completed.

"If a patient has mitral regurgitation, the best option remains open-heart surgery, which gives the patient the best chance of eliminating the valve leak altogether," said Sanjay Batra, MD, Director of Surgical Structural Heart at McLaren Flint. "The problem is that not all patients are fit enough to undergo open-heart surgery due to various medical conditions. Prior to the availability of the clip, there were no good options except for continuing their medications or agreeing to undergo high-risk open-heart surgery. The MitraClip allows patients, who are otherwise too sick or have other serious medical conditions that do not allow them to undergo open-heart surgeries, an option to significantly reduce the regurgitation in a less invasive way. It meets the same goals of traditional regurgitation treatment, improving the patient's symptoms and helping to avoid future hospital visits."

The structural heart team has also performed the region's first transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR). This procedure is for patients who have previously had an open-heart surgical procedure in which their mitral valve was replaced. Should their replacement valve become diseased again, or quit functioning properly, they likely will not qualify for a second open-heart procedure. Now TMVR is an available treatment option that can improve the quality and duration of patients' lives.

For more information on minimally invasive heart procedures available close to home, visit