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Study offers less complex, minimally invasive procedure to treat heart valve leak
Date:9/29/2009

(CHICAGO) Cardiac experts at Rush University Medical Center are studying a new, minimally invasive procedure to treat leaky heart valves. Instead of open heart surgery, patients will undergo a less complex catheter-based procedure to treat mitral regurgitation, a serious heart disorder where blood leaks backwards toward the lungs with each heart beat.

The researchers at Rush are taking part in the national EVEREST II REALISM trial, a prospective, multi-center, phase II clinical study comparing the effectiveness of the eValve MitraClip device to standard open heart surgery. The tiny clip, which is placed using a catheter, holds the flaps of the mitral valve together to prevent leaking.

In normal hearts, the flaps of the valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle come back together after each heartbeat. With mitral regurgitation, the valve does not seal completely and blood leaks back into the left atrium. This reverse flow forces the heart to work harder to circulate the blood and can result in shortness of breath, fainting, low blood pressure, fluid retention, fatigue, loss of appetite, and a hacking cough that worsens when lying down.

If left untreated, patients with mitral regurgitation can suffer serious complications.

"Patients can develop heart rhythm disorders which can cause blood clots and strokes. The heart muscle gets worse and worse function, so by the time symptoms develop, patients have lost critical heart function," said Dr. Ziyad M. Hijazi, study investigator and director of the Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease at Rush.

This new procedure is performed under general anesthesia and is far less complex than the standard method of correcting mitral regurgitation open heart surgery, which requires a sternum splitting operation, use of a heart-lung machine and stopping the heart to repair or replace the valve.

"Until now, open heart surgery was the only opt
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Contact: Deborah Song
deb_song@rush.edu
312-942-0588
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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