Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care showcases alternative life-saving solution for leaky heart valves

MitraClip cardiac simulation was performed at Arab Health 2020 in front of a live audience

Dr. Robert Smith
Dr. Robert Smith

During Arab Health 2020, Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care (RB&HH) presented a cardiac simulation which is set to offer the region’s aging population with an alternative and minimally invasive cardiac solution for patients who are suffering with mitral regurgitation.

The mitral valve and tricuspid valve control blood flow from the atria to the ventricles. If the mitral valve’s two leaflets do not close completely then this allows blood to flow backwards at high pressure through the valve into the left atrium.

Known as mitral regurgitation (MR), it causes the heart to work harder to push blood around the body. Patients may experience symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and worsening heart failure. It can also put further pressure on the pulmonary vessels, and in severe cases, this can result in fluid congestion of the lungs. Mitral regurgitation can be related to age, coronary artery disease, underlying heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) or a birth defect.
According to research, the Middle East is in the midst of a population shift. Recent years have seen fertility rates decline, while the average life expectancy has risen steadily from 60 to over 70 years old. The percentage of over-65s in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is currently at 4.7% and is expected to increase rapidly over the next 30 years, with a fivefold increase in the UAE. Healthcare spending in the region is also forecasted to increase exponentially suggesting that an ageing population will be a burden on the price of healthcare.

The transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) programme at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals is the most experienced and comprehensive in the world. Dr Robert Smith, consultant interventional cardiologist has treated more than 250 leaky mitral valves with MitraClip therapy.

The transcatheter procedure is a less invasive approach compared to conventional surgery - access to the heart is via a small incision in the groin and the mitral valve is repaired through a catheter inserted via the femoral vein. The procedure usually takes between two and three hours and immediately reduces mitral regurgitation.

Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care provide patients with rapid access to state-of-the-art diagnostics and outpatient facilities in the Harley Street medical area.  In-patients can benefit from advanced treatment facilities in their private wards situated within the main hospital buildings. Each facility has a dedicated concierge service and international liaison officers who provide support to overseas patients and their families, paying particular attention to their cultural, religious and language needs.