Saint Louis University Hospital Offers New Option For Mitral Valve Repair 
Monday, 18 August 2014 
ST. LOUIS – Heart specialists at Saint Louis University Hospital are using a new device to treat patients’ leaky mitral valves without open cardiac surgery and help patients avoid the debilitating symptoms of mitral regurgitation, the most common valve disorder in the United States.

By using a device called MitraClip, cardiac specialists at SLU Hospital now perform a procedure called percutaneous mitral valve repair that does not require the open incision in the chest traditionally needed to repair the valve. Instead, physicians non-surgically thread a catheter from the leg, to the heart and place a “clip” to eliminate the backflow of blood.

“Mitral valve repair is a very common procedure and very safe, but it is surgery and does involve an open incision and use of a heart-lung machine,” says Richard Lee, MD, co-director of the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care (C4) at Saint Louis University Hospital and a SLUCare physician. “The MitraClip allows us to offer patients the same outcome in a less invasive way for patients who may not be optimal for surgical treatment.”

In fact, studies in the United States and Europe have found percutaneous repair with the MitraClip showed improvement in patient symptoms and reduction in hospitalizations for heart failure.

The mitral valve lies between the heart’s left atrium and left ventricle and has two leaflets that open and close as the heart beats. When open, blood flows through the two leaflets from the heart’s upper chamber into the lower chamber. When the heart contracts, the valve closes.

In the case of mitral regurgitation, the leaflets do not close properly and blood flows backwards into the upper chamber. Over time, this can cause fatigue and shortness of breath. More seriously it can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, clots, infection of the heart valve or, in many cases, heart failure.

Mitral regurgitation is the most common type of heart valve disorder and medications are typically the first option with surgery the next line of treatment. For this new less-invasive option, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the MitraClip system in October 2013 for routine clinical use in the United States for patients with significant symptomatic degenerative mitral regurgitation who are at prohibitive risk for mitral valve surgery. It is not FDA-approved at this time for patients with what is called “functional” mitral regurgitation.

“Percutaneous mitral valve repair is another example of the true team approach we offer patients at Saint Louis University Hospital,” says Michael Lim, MD, co-director of the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care (C4) at Saint Louis University Hospital and a SLUCare physician. “It’s cardiac surgeons and cardiologists coming together to give patients all options.”

For more information, visit the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care at or call 855-97-HEART.


About Saint Louis University Hospital

Saint Louis University Hospital is a 356-licensed bed quaternary/tertiary referral center located in the heart of the city of St. Louis. Approximately 75 percent of patients are drawn from a 150-mile radius. Through affiliation as the teaching hospital for Saint Louis University, the hospital provides patients and their families with an environment of medical innovation. Working in this endeavor are the hospital’s medical staff partners, SLUCare, the physicians of Saint Louis University. The hospital admits more than 17,000 patients annually and is a Level I Trauma Center that treats more than 2,000 major trauma cases a year. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Jason Merrill