When the structures surrounding the mitral valve deteriorate and loosen, the valve is no longer able to open and close properly. As a result, blood backs up in the heart and lungs, causing severe fatigue with minimal activity. New devices are enabling doctors to repair the mitral valve structures without the need for open- heart surgery. One of the many devices in development, MitraClip, is now being tested in clinical trials in the United States.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.