New technology helps expand Heart & Vascular program at North Florida hospital

GAINESVILLE, Fla.(WCJB) - A new procedure is giving doctors at North Florida Regional Medical Center the opportunity to help more patients. MitraClip is a minimally invasive procedure to treat patients with Mitral Regurgitation who are not eligible for the traditional open-heart surgery due to their frail condition. The procedure consists of a small clip that is delivered via a catheter and guided through a vein in the leg, which leads the device to the patient’s mitral valve in the heart, allowing it to close more completely.

One of the members of the cardiothoracic team, Dr. Charles Klodell says, "Part of the nuances as a physician is figuring out which patients are best served by an open surgical repair versus the patients who you may think are higher risk and shouldn't have an open procedure. In those patients, technology like the Mitraclip makes it possible to treat them where otherwise, previously, they wouldn't have been offered any treatment."

The cardiothoracic teams at North Florida and the Cardiac and Vascular Institute, including Dr. Charles Klodell, Dr. Richard Proia, Dr. Mark Tulli and Dr. Ilie Barb, performed the first two MitraClip procedures on January 9th.

Dr. Klodell says, "MitraClip offers us the opportunity to fix valves without having to open the chest. This otherwise would've taken a patient out of work or out of their daily life for several weeks or a month or two to recover fully. With the Mitraclip, we've been successful in discharging patients the morning after the procedure."

North Florida is also using a Hybrid Operating Room specifically catered to minimally-invasive procedures like the MitraClip procedure.

Mitraclip is manufactured by Abbott Structural Heart.