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Saint Thomas Heart has reached a milestone in performing its 100th MitraClip procedure, a new technology to percutaneously treat mitral valve disease. Saint Thomas Heart is one of just 13 Heart Centers, of approximately 240 Heart Centers nationwide, to reach this benchmark. Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

The MitraClip procedure involves inserting a small metal clip into the hearts of patients with mitral regurgitation (MR), a common heart condition in which the heart’s mitral valve leaflets do not close appropriately causing blood to leak. This condition can lead to advanced heart failure and affects approximately four million people in the United States.

Approximately three years ago, Saint Thomas Heart was the first cardiac program in Tennessee to offer the MitraClip as part of a national clinical trial for patients with congestive heart failure and MR, which is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency in the United States.

“We have a definitive vision for Saint Thomas Heart of providing the most comprehensive treatment options and highest quality of care for our patients,” said Dr. Andrew Morse, MD. “Our Structural Heart program expands the range of options to patients who previously had very limited to no options for their heart disease. The MitraClip is just one of multiple options we have at our disposal today to help our patients return to their normal lives and extend their longevity and quality of life.”

The MitraClip procedure expands the options for selected patients with MR, especially those who are not candidates for invasive open-heart surgery. The procedure allows doctors to use catheter-based technology to repair the mitral valve via a groin puncture without requiring patients to undergo cardiopulmonary bypass or the need for traditional chest incisions. The procedure shortens recovery time and ultimately improves quality of life for those experiencing life-altering symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.

Valvular and structural heart disease, in particular, includes a variety of cardiac defects that can be congenital in nature (birth defects) or acquired over time. These conditions include abnormal connections (holes) between heart chambers, heart valve dysfunction (leaking or narrowing), artificial valve dysfunction or problems within the vessels that are connected to the heart. This has become a rapidly evolving specialty within cardiology. A variety of new minimally invasive and catheter-based procedures have been developed to expand care to those who are at increased risk for standard therapies. Cardiologists and surgeons at Saint Thomas Heart work in teams to treat heart defects with methods that are less invasive than traditional open-heart surgery.

Saint Thomas Heart offers a multidisciplinary approach to heart care; its collaborative team is comprised of interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists and cardiac imaging specialists. Through this collaborative team approach, previously inoperable patients with severe heart conditions are able to receive customized cutting edge therapies, including minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures.

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