Mitral Valve Replacement - Current Research
In 2003, videoscopic mitral valve repair was performed. This center in Maryland strongly advocates feels that mitral valve repair can be done and will prevail over mitral valve replacement in times to come.
A new non-surgical procedure is being researched for patients with leaky valves. In this procedure a special catheter is inserted to the heart through the femoral vein in the groin. There is a clip-like device at the end of the catheter. This clip is attached to the mitral valve leaflets. Presence of a foreign body in the heart causes it to create scar tissues over it and this holds the leaflets and limits the blood leakage. This process is guided with an echocardiogram during the procedure.
Studies on reshaping mitral valve annulus and posterior leaflets are being conducted. A catheter inserted into one of the neck veins is pushed to the heart. The remodeling device at the end of the catheter pushes the base of the valve into its original shape. A transesophageal ECHO is done during the procedure to check the outcomes. This procedure will be performed in cardiac catheterization labs in the future. The studies are currently done in operating rooms on consenting patients undergoing valve surgery.
Tissue engineering studies are working on tailoring heart valves in correct shape and proportions from the patient’s tissue itself. Such valves were transplanted on the valves of the sheep after they were grown in a culture medium from the growing tissues of the lamb’s artery.
New age technology is being used to create coatings for valves to reduce infection and advance healing. Valves are being tested to provide less wear and tear. Computers are being used to design and manufacture mechanical valves.