TMVR: A Breakthrough Approach to Treating Mitral Valve Regurgitation

No matter how severe the heart disease, treating it with open heart surgery is risky, especially for high-risk individuals, like, patients with advanced age, poor cardiac function, structural heart abnormalities, previous surgeries, or pre-existing medical conditions. As the world is advancing with new emerging technologies, various non-invasive or minimally-invasive procedures that do not require surgically opening the entire organ, like the heart or chest are evolving at a fast pace and are being used to treat several heart diseases or heart valve disorders.

Transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR) is a common minimally-invasive procedure requiring no open heart surgery. In this blog, we will discuss how transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR) is a breakthrough approach to treating mitral valve regurgitation, and its benefits, procedure, uses, and more. So, let’s get started.

What Is Mitral Valve Regurgitation, And Its Treatment Options?

Mitral valve regurgitation is a heart valve disease characterized by dysfunction or damage to the mitral valve, leading to the backflow of blood.

Our mitral valve is responsible for preventing the backflow of blood by closing its flaps after the blood passes through the valves. So, if the mitral valve is damaged, it doesn’t close properly due to which blood flows in the backward direction instead of moving forward.

There are several surgical and non-surgical options for treating mitral valve regurgitation. Surgical options include mitral valve replacement or mitral valve repair, which involves surgically opening the heart to replace or repair the damaged or diseased mitral valve.

Non-surgical or minimally-invasive options are catheter based-procedures that are performed by making an incision in the blood vessels to transfer the artificial mitral valve in the heart through a catheter.

What Is TMVR?

TMVR, abbreviated as Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement, is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a flexible, hollow tube (catheter) to clip the damaged (leaky) mitral valve.

It is a procedure used to treat mitral valve regurgitation without open heart surgery. A clip is attached to the catheter, which is inserted through a blood vessel in the groin that travels to the heart to clip the leaky mitral valve. The clip (artificial valve) is used to tighten the leaflets together, treating the leaky valves.

Mainly any of the two types of clips/artificial valves are used to repair the diseased mitral valve:
● MitraClip
● Pascal

What Is Transcatheter Mitral Valve Made Of?

Transcatheter mitral valve implants are made of biological heart tissues or natural animal heart tissues, like from a pig or cow.

Who Are The Candidates For Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement?

The following patients are eligible for the Transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR) procedure:

  • Elderly patients
  • Patients with multiple chronic diseases
  • Patients who are at risk of complications from open-heart surgery or surgical procedures.

In contrast, younger individuals with fewer pre-existing medical problems are classified as low-risk patients and are able to tolerate surgical procedures.

How Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement Is Done?

Transcatheter mitral valve replacement may include the following steps:

  1. Before the procedure, your doctor may perform imaging tests, like a CT scan or ECG for a detailed examination of your condition and heart functions.
  2. The second step includes cleaning and shaving the area where your catheter will be inserted which is commonly in the chest or groin.
  3. Your doctor may give some medications or fluids before starting the implantation procedure.
  4. Your cardiologist will attach a small man-made valve or clip at the end of a thin flexible tube (catheter).
  5. Next, a small incision will be made in your groin or chest.
  6. Then your doctor will insert the catheter into the blood vessels of your groin or chest where the incision has been made.
  7. Using certain imaging technologies, the catheter is guided to the heart where the clip or valve attached to the catheter is implanted over your existing leaky mitral valve.
  8. After the clip is attached to the leaky valve, your doctor will remove the catheter and
    close your incision.

Benefits Of Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR)

The advantages or outcomes of transcatheter mitral valve replacement include:

  • It improves the symptoms caused by mitral valve regurgitation, such as irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, and swelling in ankles.
  • It provides quicker recovery than open heart surgeries.
  • It decreases the risks of severe heart problems, like heart attack, stroke, and other chronic diseases.