John Muir Health among First Hospitals in Northern California to Offer Breakthrough Device for Patients with Debilitating Heart Valve Disease


Minimally Invasive MitraClip Improves Quality of Life for Patients at High Risk for Open Heart Surgery

Concord, Calif. (July 20, 2015) – Physicians at John Muir Health are among the first in Northern California to offer patients suffering from mitral regurgitation (MR), a breakthrough new minimally invasive treatment option. Performed at John Muir Medical Center, Concord, percutaneous mitral valve repair, or MitraClip, has been approved for U.S. patients with severe symptomatic degenerative MR who are at prohibitive risk for open heart, mitral valve surgery. Physicians at John Muir Health successfully performed their first MitraClip procedure on June 11 and have a number of procedures slated in the coming weeks.

Degenerative MR is caused by an anatomic defect of the mitral valve of the heart. It's a debilitating, progressive and life-threatening disease in which a leaky mitral valve causes a backward flow of blood in the heart. MR is common, affecting more than 4 million Americans – nearly one in 10 people aged 75 and above. The condition can raise the risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart failure.

Open heart mitral valve surgery is the gold standard treatment, but many patients are at prohibitive risk for the invasive procedure based on certain factors, such as age and physical condition. Medications for the condition are limited to symptom management and do not stop the progression of the disease.

Abbott Vascular's MitraClip procedure repairs the mitral valve without the need for open heart surgery. The device is delivered to the heart through the femoral vein, a blood vessel in the leg, and once implanted, allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently, thereby relieving symptoms and improving patient quality of life. Patients undergoing MitraClip treatment typically experience short recovery times and short hospital stays, which are generally less than 48 hours.

The John Muir Health MitraClip team is comprised of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, who work closely together to screen and perform the MitraClip procedure on those patients that will benefit greatly from this life-enhancing treatment. They include cardiologists Andrew Dublin, M.D., Faizul Haque, M.D., Paul McWhirter, M.D., Howard Min, M.D. and Perkin Shiu, M.D. and cardiovascular surgeons Murali Dharan, M.D. and Jatinder Dhillon, M.D.

Multiple trials, published reports, and registries of patients treated with the MitraClip device consistently demonstrate its safety, reduction in MR, improvement in symptoms, and reduction in hospitalizations for heart failure, even in some of the most severely ill and debilitated patients. More than 20,000 patients around the world have been treated with the MitraClip device.

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