New treatment at CRMC for mitral valve regurgitation

(left to right) Dr. Tim Fournet, Dr. Ashley Nickerson, Dr. Lewis Wilson, Dr. Chris Adams and Dr. Stacy Brewington

COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) recently performed its first MitraClip procedure, a procedure designed to help the heart’s mitral valve work more effectively. The minimally invasive procedure is used to treat mitral valve regurgitation and is performed through a catheter using ultrasound for guidance.

“It’s a team-based procedure,” said Dr. Chris Adams, an interventional cardiologist at Tennessee Heart and CRMC’s Heart and Vascular Center. “We performed the first MitraClip procedure at CRMC in March and it went really well. The patient felt better the next day.”

The team approach involves the patient having an ultrasound that is reviewed by cardiac imaging specialist Dr. Ashley Nickerson or Dr. Tim Fournet and an examination by either Dr. Adams or Dr. Stacy Brewington. The patient will also have a consultation with cardiac surgeon Dr. Lewis Wilson or Dr. Timothy Powell.

“Using this team approach, we are able to plan a patient’s best course of care,” said Dr. Adams.

MitraClip is a small clip that is directed through the heart where the clip is placed on the mitral valve using ultrasound for guidance. The entire procedure is done through a small hole in the groin with no incision in the chest. 

Mitral valve regurgitation is caused by a “leaky valve” that causes leakage of the blood backward through the mitral valve each time the left ventricle contracts. While mild regurgitation may not cause symptoms, it may cause heart failure with symptoms like shortness of breath during exertion, coughing, congestion around the heart and lungs, and swelling of the legs and feet.

If you think you may have mitral valve regurgitation, talk with your primary care provider for a referral to the Structural Heart-Valve Clinic at Tennessee Heart.

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