MitraClip is a permanent implant that attaches to tissue within your mitral valve and keeps blood flowing in the right direction. Wake Forest Baptist Health is among the first hospitals in the country offering this new device.

Mitral heart valves keep blood flowing forward through your heart and the rest of your body. Within the valve, tissue flaps known as leaflets snap open and shut with each heartbeat. Healthy leaflets form a tight seal so that blood can’t escape. When you have mitral valve disease, the leaflets allow blood to leak backward. Symptoms worsen over time, which leave you feeling weak and make it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

Some people with advanced forms of mitral valve disease are too weak to withstand surgery. MitraClip offers a nonsurgical alternative.

Before treatment, you may undergo one or more cardiovascular imaging tests, such as an ultrasound of the heart, to pinpoint the source of the leak.

You are given medication to put you to sleep and ease any discomfort.

Your interventional cardiologist makes an incision in your artery and inserts a thin, spaghetti-like tube (catheter) with the MitraClip attached. He or she guides the catheter through your blood vessels to deliver the MitraClip to the diseased mitral valve.

Using special instruments and advanced imaging technology, the MitraClip is permanently attached to the leaflets of your mitral valve exactly where the leak is most severe.

Finally, the catheter is removed, and your procedure is complete.

After the procedure, additional imaging tests and blood work are performed to make sure the MitraClip is working properly.

You also may need to take medication such as blood thinners or aspirin for a short period of time.