St. Charles launches new mitral valve treatment for patients too high risk for heart surgery
BEND, Ore. – St. Charles Bend is the first hospital between Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area to offer MitraClip, a non-surgical treatment option for mitral regurgitation.
The procedure offers a lifeline for patients who have been deemed too high risk for full mitral valve replacement surgery. Mitral regurgitation is a condition that causes blood to leak backward into the heart due to a faulty mitral valve, causing shortness of breath, fatigue, heart murmurs, palpitations and swelling.
“The focus is to improve the quality of life for patients who otherwise have very limited treatment options,” said Dr. Saurabh Gupta, St. Charles’ director of structural cardiology, who performed the inaugural MitraClip procedures. “Data suggests, and this has been my experience also, that the treatment significantly reduces the number of future re-hospitalizations for these patients.”
The MitraClip device is implanted via catheter and clips the mitral valve together rather than suturing the valve during open-heart surgery. As a result, recovery time from the MitraClip procedure is shorter than that of full mitral valve replacement surgery, with an approximate hospital stay of one to two days compared to five to seven days, Gupta said.
MitraClip will not replace traditional surgery but offers a new treatment option to high-risk patients. Previously, patients would have needed to travel significant distances outside Central Oregon for the procedure.
The MitraClip program was launched as part of the Structural Heart Program at St. Charles, which anticipates between 25-30 MitraClip patients a year, most of whom are expected to be older based on the typical demographic for mitral regurgitation. The procedure is typically covered by Medicare.
MitraClip is a relatively new treatment in the U.S. The FDA approved the Abbott Vascular MitraClip Delivery System (“MitraClip”) in 2013 when MitraClip became the first commercially approved non-surgical treatment option for degenerative mitral regurgitation.
The four patients treated so far are recovering well, Gupta said. Three of them left the hospital on the day following the procedure and can expect alleviation of symptoms within just a few days.
About St. Charles Health System
St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,200 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.