The mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. It is composed of two flaps, called leaflets. These leaflets open and close to ensure that blood flows in only one direction. If the mitral valve doesn’t close completely, it allows blood to flow back (regurgitate) into the heart atrium. Because of this “leaky valve,” less oxygen-rich blood pumps through the heart and to other parts of the body. Some people with mild mitral valve regurgitation have no symptoms at all while those with a more severe condition may have symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Congestion around heart and lungs
- Edema (swelling of legs, ankles and feet)
At Lankenau Heart Institute we’re able to repair leaky valves using MitraClip (transcatheter mitral valve repair), a minimally invasive procedure that allows our team of interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to work collaboratively to attach a tiny clip to the valve leaflets, eliminating the regurgitation and helping them to function properly again by pumping sufficient blood through the heart. MitraClip is a catheter-based procedure (without the need for open-heart surgery) so your recovery time and time spent in the hospital is much shorter, typically two to three days in the hospital—so you can get back to living your healthy, active life.