Mitralclip could be a ‘game changer’ for severe heart failure  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: Offering new hope to a large number of people with severe heart failure, researchers have created a small device that can help repair damaged heart valves, reducing the risk of deaths among patients with a grim prognosis. The research announced on Sunday suggests that the device, called a MitraClip, could be a ‘game changer’ for severe heart failure, which affects about two million Americans. In India, more than 17 lakh people die of heart diseases every year. Current estimates show that the county will soon have the highest number of heart disease cases in the world.
The research published in the New England Journal of Medicine said that the tiny clip inserted into the heart greatly lowered death rates for these patients with severe heart failure. “It's a huge advance,” Dr. Howard Herrmann, who directs interventional cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times. “It shows we can treat and improve the outcomes of a disease in a way we never thought we could.” Read - Transcatheter aortic valve replacement raises risk of death: Here’s all you need to know about TAVR
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. It is a chronic condition. Some common signs and symptoms of heart failure include - shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeat, fatigue and weakness, swollen legs, lack of appetite and nausea, etc.
In the current work, the researchers used the device to join two wayward flaps of the damaged mitral valve together in the middle. This appeared to restore regular function to the valve, the researchers said.
The study included 614 patients with severe heart failure in the United States and Canada, who were randomly assigned to receive either the MitraClip plus standard therapy or standard therapy alone. The results showed that among those patients who didn't get the device, 151 were hospitalised for heart failure over the next two years, and 61 of them died. However, those who got the clip fared better on the whole, with s just 92 hospitalisations and 28 deaths.
“This is a game changer. This is massive,” Dr Matthew Williams, who directs the heart valve programme at NYU Langone Health in New York City, told the Times.
Experts believe that the MitraClip, which costs about $30,000, would probably be covered by insurers, including Medicare, if approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of heart failure.