Harvard Heart Letter

Breakthrough in mitral valve treatment

New approach allows valves to be repaired from the inside.

A new way of repairing mitral valves without the need for open-heart surgery shows promise in improving the prognosis for people with severe mitral valve disease who are too sick for traditional surgery.

The technique allows a poorly functioning mitral valve to be repaired from the inside of the heart using a small tube, called a catheter. At least a half-dozen different repair systems are in various stages of development: One system, MitraClip, is now available in the United States through clinical trials.

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