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Changing Lives at a Quick Clip

For patients who can’t have major surgery, the MitraClip is a lifesaver.

For mitral valve surgeries, a new minimally invasive treatment gives patients a needed option

A new device called MitraClip might be tiny, but it’s making a huge difference for some UHS patients.

The device addresses mitral valve regurgitation, a condition that affects the area between the two sides of the heart. When the valve isn’t functioning properly, blood can leak back into the heart’s upper chamber instead of being pumped out the way it should. This can lead to shortness of breath, leg swelling and potential heart failure.

UHS has done many open heart surgeries to repair these valves, but that procedure isn’t appropriate for everyone, says Alon Yarkoni, M.D., at UHS’ Heart & Vascular Institute. Those who are older, in poor health or have other medical conditions like lung disease aren’t good candidates for such a major surgery. That’s where MitraClip comes in.

The device can be placed on the valve in a minimally invasive procedure, with just one tiny incision along the groin. The device is threaded up to the heart through a catheter. The surgery often takes only one to two hours, compared to the four or five hours for open heart surgery, and hospital recovery time is often just a day, as opposed to a week of hospital stay after open heart surgery.

UHS began using MitraClips in late 2019, and is already using them on a regular basis, Dr. Yarkoni says, giving many more patients an option they didn’t have before.

“For those who were too sick to have major surgery, this gives them a chance to have their mitral valve repaired, and that makes a big difference for their quality of life,” he notes. “We’re very excited to be offering MitraClip, because it allows us to help patients who would not have had this option before.”


For more information on the MitraClip and UHS cardiology services, visit or call the UHS Heart & Vascular Institute at 607-763-6580.