Las Vegas residents Gary Wilson, 79 and Brenda Chobanian, 77, are recovering today following a breakthrough treatment yesterday for their severe mitral regurgitation (MR) at the Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. For the first time in Nevada, physicians on staff at Sunrise Hospital successfully performed Nevada’s first two mitral valve repair procedures using the MitraClip® system on Tuesday.

Led by Cardiologist Nayab Zafar, MD of the Heart Center of Nevada and Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgeon Bashir Chowdhry, MD, the Sunrise Hospital Heart Center team implanted the MitraClip system which is the only transcatheter mitral valve repair therapy available for patients.  Both patients suffer from MR which causes blood to flow backward through a faulty heart valve. This puts additional strain on the heart and raises the risk for stroke and heart failure.

During the MitraClip procedure, a catheter (thin tube) is inserted through a small incision in the upper leg to reach the beating heart. The device is then guided through this catheter to the mitral valve. There, the MitraClip grasps the mitral valve flaps to close the center. This allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently and relieves debilitating symptoms. 

“Patients with a physical defect of the mitral valve or who have had significant damage to the heart can lead a symptom-free life,” said Dr. Zafar. “For most of these patients, traditional heart surgery is not an option so the ability to gain a good foothold on a quality of life after having degenerative MR is a giant leap forward.”

Manufactured by Abbott, the MitraClip gives heart doctors another treatment option for patients who are too fragile or sick to survive the traditional invasive mitral valve replacement surgery.

“Placing the first MitraClip in a beating heart to reclaim quality of life for two patients is exemplary of our commitment to advanced heart therapy,” said Todd P. Sklamberg, CEO of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. “We are home to the largest heart program in the state of Nevada - it is our obligation to stay at the forefront of innovative care.”

About Mitral Valve and Mitral Regurgitation

The mitral valve is the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. In a normally functioning mitral valve, blood flows in a single direction between the left atrium and left ventricle. When mitral valve’s two leaflets (or flaps) do not close properly, some blood flows backward through the valve back into the left atrium. This is called mitral regurgitation (or MR). It affects more than 4 million Americans – nearly one in 10 people aged 75 and older.

To compensate and keep blood flowing through the body, the left ventricle pumps harder. This strain can lead to other heart complications.

About the Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center:

Located close to major freeway arteries, The Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center offers the most advanced cardiac care to Southern Nevada and the surrounding region and features an Accredited Chest Pain Center.  Treating more heart patients than any other hospital in Las Vegas, it is home to Nevada’s first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) Program.  It also houses the only pediatric open heart surgery program in the state.

As Nevada’s largest acute care facility and Level II Trauma Center, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center offers high quality, patient-centered healthcare to the residents of Southern Nevada, its surrounding region, and the millions of visitors who come to Las Vegas.

For more information on Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, visit Sunrise Hospital, follow on Twitter @SunriseLasVegas and Facebook.

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
3186 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Sunrise Hospital

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