An exciting new alternative to valve replacement surgery

The Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute has made it its mission to bring new medical breakthroughs to our community and the medical community as a whole. As a part of its ongoing investment in the latest technologies, the Institute now offers Mitra Clip — a groundbreaking alternative to mitral valve replacement surgery.

Why it’s important to have a healthy mitral valve

The mitral valve, located on the left side of the heart, provides a pathway for oxygen-rich blood to flow from the atrium to the ventricle. When the valve is damaged, it can allow blood to leak back into the atrium, which means less oxygen is pumped through the body. People who have this condition may experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fluid retention in the legs or other parts of the body

When conditions are serious, doctors typically recommend valve repair or replacement. However, some people are not candidates for surgery because they are too sick for valve replacement surgery. With the Mitra Clip procedure, some patients’ health needs can still be met.

How the Mitra Clip works

Dr. Matt Wiisanen, Director of Structural Heart Disease at the Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute, offers minimally invasive valve procedures including the Mitra Clip. He has been performing the Mitra Clip procedure since its introduction, because he believes it is a smart alternative for eligible patients facing mitral valve damage.

“The Mitra Clip provides a life-changing option for some patients who can’t have valve repair or replacement surgery,” says Dr. Wiisanen. “The clip holds the flaps of the mitral valve together, so that the valve can operate more effectively. As a result, patients can improve their quality of life, and are far less likely to experience heart failure later.”

Dr. Wiisanen also discusses the simplicity of the procedure. “Because we insert the clip through one small incision, it’s less invasive than traditional valve replacement surgery. Patients can often leave the hospital in a day or two, and return to normal activities within a week.”

He also mentions the Mitra Clip is the only valve repair alternative approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How innovation improves overall care

Dr. Wiisanen joined the Heart and Lung Institute, in part, because of the team’s interest in exploring new technologies to advance the quality of coronary care.

“The Heart and Lung Institute offers an impressive range of specialties and is the only academic heart center in the area,” says Wiisanen. “The Institute has led and participated in a number of groundbreaking trials and studies over the years, and we plan to continue these efforts. Our goal is to put the Heart and Lung Institute — and Chattanooga — on the map as one of the world’s best cardiac care communities by providing exceptional care to our patients.”

Book an appointment online with Dr. Wiisanen or the other specialists at the new Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute, or call 423-778-5661.