The mitral valve repair procedure will be rolled out across the UK


A ‘life-changing’ procedure for one of the most common heart conditions will now be available in Scotland after a 10-year battle by doctors to see it funded by the NHS.

Trans-catheter edge-to-edge (TEER) repair is a ‘simple’ solution to a condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

Until now, open-heart surgery was the only option available for patients with mitral valve leakage, which if left untreated can lead to blood clots, strokes and heart failure. .

The two-hour procedure is performed using keyhole surgery in which doctors access the mitral valve with a catheter guided through a vein in the patient’s groin.

One or more implanted clips are attached to the mitral valve to seal the leak and restore normal blood flow.

The majority of patients are mobile during the day and may leave the hospital soon after.

In one case, a patient who had been in intensive care for 11 weeks was discharged from hospital within a week of TEER repair.

About 70% of patients find that symptoms, including shortness of breath, improve after the procedure and are able to resume daily activities such as climbing stairs and walking around.

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The mitral valve has two leaflets that open and close to allow blood to flow through the heart.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, it’s because the mitral valve in your heart doesn’t close enough, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction.

HeraldScotland:

When blood does not circulate through the heart as it should, it can cause you to feel tired and weak and, in severe cases, lead to heart failure, arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorders) or more serious complications.

The problem often develops with age due to wear and tear or damage from untreated high blood pressure.

However, mitral stenosis may present in young patients after bacterial infection of the heart or in elderly patients due to calcium deposition on the mitral valve.

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Delays in NHS funding have left the UK lagging behind other European countries in access to TEER, with Germany carrying out 50 times more procedures.

The NHS decided not to fund the treatment in 2011, but cardiologists lobbied for the decision to be reversed.

A two-year evaluation was conducted to prove its effectiveness but the decision was delayed due to the pandemic.

A total of 20 hospitals across the UK will now offer the procedure, including Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, which is Scotland’s national heart and lung centre.

HeraldScotland:

Each center could perform up to 50 procedures each year, which could benefit hundreds of patients, including those who cannot undergo open-heart surgery.

The incidence of heart valve disease increases dramatically with age.

Degenerative abnormalities associated with severe aortic stenosis and mitral and tricuspid insufficiency are found in no less than 10% of the population over 75 years of age.

Surgical treatment has been considered the treatment of choice for years.

However, it was not uncommon for it to be associated with high perioperative morbidity and mortality due to frequent comorbidities and overall patient frailty.

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At least 30% of patients with serious diseases are not treated because of the surgical risk.

Prof Dan Blackman, interventional cardiologist at the NHS Trust at Leeds Teaching Hospital, told the Telegraph: “This is a life-changing and life-saving procedure.

“One of the most dramatic results I’ve seen is from a patient who was hospitalized for 11 weeks and was stuck in the intensive care unit, critically ill.

“After executing Teer, he was released from hospital in just one week.

“This was a remarkable result and underlines how effective this simple procedure can be.”

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