Effective mitral valve repair
If you have heart failure, it can cause the heart muscle to weaken and stretch out like an overblown balloon. That pulls apart the mitral valve — its job is to open and close the door between the heart’s upper lefthand chamber and the lower chamber. When that happens, the flow of oxygen-rich blood out of your heart to the rest of your body backs up, and you develop what’s called mitral regurgitation. Your symptoms worsen and your risk of death from heart failure increases.
In a stunning example of medical innovation, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs worked for two decades to develop the MitraClip. The clip is attached to your sagging mitral valve and allows the valve to once again open and then close completely in synchronization with your beating heart.
This dime-size device was originally conceived by Dr. Oz in 1996. It is based on insights into the workings of the mitral valve by an Italian surgeon named Antonio Alfieri. Says Dr. Oz: “Alfieri explained that the mitral valve works like a zipper, and when it fails in this way, all surgeons need to do is place one stitch to restart the closing process. Once stitched, the faulty valve naturally snaps shut again on its own!
“My colleagues and I at Columbia University immediately patented the device. In 2003, with a remarkably creative team led by Ferolyn Powell, we released a device which we’ve used at my NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and around the world — in 30,000 implants since then.”
But there had been some resistance to using the device, because large clinical trials hadn’t yet demonstrated success. Well, that’s old news now.
In a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, lead author Greg Stone (Dr. Oz’s colleague) and dozens of collaborators published evidence of the MitraClip’s effectiveness.