Percutaneous Mitral Valve Technologies

Sarah A. Schubert, Gorav Ailawadi


A complex structure incorporating leaflets, chordae tendinae, papillary muscles, and annulus, the mitral valve apparatus requires synchronous function of these multiple anatomic elements, along with the left ventricle, to properly direct blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. When even just a single component of the mitral apparatus fails, the valve becomes incompetent, allowing regurgitant flow into the left atrium.

As mitral regurgitation (MR) progresses in severity, survival declines. Consequently, correction of severe MR is often recommended for patients with symptoms or even in asymptomatic MR with signs of left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction less than 60% or end-systolic diameter greater than 40 mm).[1],[2],[3] Historically, mitral valve replacement was performed for all types of MR; however, significant evidence has shown that patients with degenerative MR, that is, MR arising from structural defects in the mitral valve apparatus, demonstrate better outcomes with mitral valve repair.[4],[5] Based on recent evidence, patients with functional MR, that is, pathology arising from left ventricular insult that interferes with proper left ventricular function and thus also proper function of the mitral apparatus, may have better correction of MR with mitral valve replacement.[6]

Mitral valve pathology is thought to be the most common valvular abnormality, with an estimated prevalence of 10% in patients over age 75.[3] Although this population is the most likely to require surgical correction of MR, surgery is often avoided because of patients’ comorbidities and increased surgical risk. As many as 50% of patients are denied mitral valve surgery, with impaired ejection fraction, older age, and the presence of multiple comorbidities cited as the most common reasons for denying surgery to patients.[7] With these concerns about concomitant comorbidities and patient intolerance of surgical intervention, as well as challenges in long-term recovery, there has been significant investment in less invasive and percutaneous intervention on the mitral valve.

Currently, the MitraClip system (Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, California) is the only percutaneous therapy commercially available for mitral valve repair. A transvenous, transseptal device, the MitraClip permanently opposes the anterior and posterior leaflets of the mitral valve, resulting in a double orifice mitral valve, based on an edge-to-edge repair.[8] It was designed as a less invasive option for MR reduction in patients who are high risk for mitral valve surgery.

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Last updated: September 21, 2020