Mercy Health offers new treatment for heart valve leaks

Treatment an option for those not eligible for traditional surgery, according to hospital.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Mercy Health – Springfield is now offering an alternate treatment option for those with a leaky heart valve who are ineligible for traditional open-heart surgery.

The treatment, Mitral Trans Catheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER), uses a small clip-based device to repair primary and secondary mitral regurgitation, one of the most common heart valve conditions, according to a release from the hospital. The clip is delivered to the heart through a small incision in the leg, working to clip together a portion of the flaps of the mitral valve to reduce the buildup of blood, letting the heart pump blood more efficiently.

“There’s no such thing as one size fits all, so we’re constantly trying to grow Mercy Health’s heart and vascular services. Increasing accessibility to specialized cardiac care allows our patients in Clark and Champaign County to get the help they need close to home, which often leads to better outcomes,” said Lori Blanton-Baugh, director of cardiology services.

Mitral regurgitation (MR) occurs when the flaps of the mitral valve fail to close completely, which allows blood to flow back into the heart as it pumps, according to the release. This makes the heart work harder to keep blood flowing, which can raise a person’s risk for life-threatening stroke and heart failure.

“When MR becomes severe, it can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life by causing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and other debilitating symptoms. If left untreated, it can ultimately lead to heart failure and death,” Mercy Health cardiologist Dr. Faiq Akhter said in the release.

Both Akhter and Dr. Tariq Rizvi now offer the TEER procedure, which can be an option for those who have previously been turned away for open-heart surgery. The procedure usually takes less than an hour, and patients stay in the hospital for around one to two days as compared to around a week for the traditional surgery, according to the release.

“Not only that, but they usually start to feel better immediately,” Akhter said in the release.

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