Health Canada has approved Abbott Vascular’s MitraClip, a simple device that allows mitral regurgitation to be treated without opening the chest.
Sunnybrook’s MitraClip program was the first in Toronto, and continues to be the only centre in the city, treating 60 patients since 2011. Mitral regurgitation is a common heart disease as people age. When the valve no longer closes properly, blood flows backwards into the upper heart chamber and patients find themselves out of breath during normal activities. If left untreated, severe mitral regurgitation can cause heart failure and serious heart rhythm problems or arrhythmias.
Dr. Eric Cohen, deputy chief of the Schulich Heart Centre and the cardiology division, and Dr. Gideon Cohen, head of the cardiovascular surgery division, work together to pass a catheter from a vein in the upper thigh to the heart and implant the clip. Because every patient has different anatomy, the procedure is planned carefully with sophisticated imaging and requires a surgical program with an established track record in mitral valve repair, along with an experienced interventional cardiology program.
Previously available through Health Canada’s Special Access Programme, the Hospital’s cases to date have been funded by the Sunnybrook Foundation.
"The procedure itself is well tolerated and relatively low-risk, making it an ideal option for patients who are not suitable for traditional open heart surgery. We've seen firsthand the potential this has to improve the quality of life for many sick patients, enabling them to have a more active lifestyle," says Dr. Gideon Cohen.
Sunnybrook is expected to perform at least 25 MitraClip procedures annually.
“We see many patients who would benefit from the MitraClip procedure, patients who don’t have other viable treatment options,” adds Dr. Eric Cohen.
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