SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A common type of heart valve disorder causes blood to flow backward into the upper heart chamber, which can make you feel tired, or out of breath.
Surgery has been the only option for treatment. Now, a new procedure being done at Willis-Knighton for patients that are not candidates for surgery.
"The valve doesn't close as well," said Dr. Ryan Master, an interventional cardiologist at Willis-Knighton.
Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition where your heart's mitral valve doesn't close tightly, causing blood to flow backward in your heart.
"Blood is rampantly leaking into the atrium," said Dr. Wenwu Zhang, an interventional cardiologist at Willis-Knighton.
This cuts down the amount of blood that flows to the rest of your body, which may make your heart try to pump harder, the leakage can increase pressure in the area.
"Ventricular pressure is high, when the ventricular squeezes, that pressure is high so that high pressure will make the blood flow to the aorta. But if you get that high pressure back into the atrium, the blood can't come from the lung, then you can't breathe. So basically you can't do any activity," said Dr. Zhang.
Normally, the fix for mitral regurgitation is surgery. But for some, surgery is not an option. A new procedure, called the Mitraclip is a less invasive alternative.
"They just have to be high-risk candidates. We use really a heart team approach, we've used this with our aortic valve replacements and we're using that now in deciding between bypass and stents where both a cardiothoracic surgeon and an interventional cardiologist, who does the procedure, try to pick what would be the best for that patient," said Dr. Master.
The clip itself is about the length of a quarter, and once in place, stops the leakage of blood from the heart.
"We are able to go in via somebody's leg, we go in a vein in the leg, we go up to the heart, we go across the heart septum and we almost use a little bit like a staple, and we staple parts of the valve together," said Dr. Master.
The procedure takes a few hours, patients are usually out of the hospital within just a few days feeling better with an improved quality of life.
"This is like two hours after and the guy is already telling me I'm breathing way better, it's a completely different game," said Dr. Zhang.
Willis-Knighton just began performing this procedure about a month ago, they've performed four so far and have had no major issues with the procedure.
Doctors say they have been pleased with the results so far.