Everyday innovators: how MitraClip's "Eureka!" moment changed the world of possibility for heart failure care.

MitraClip: Overcoming a Flow of Doubt to Help Thousands

Oct 5 2020

If you're reading this story, you understand the logic fundamental to comprehension.

The words flow in one direction: Left to right, top to bottom.

Take that first sentence. Here it is again, this time in reverse:

.noisneherpmoc ot latnemadnuf cigol eht dnatsrednu uoy, yrots siht gnidear er’uoy fI.

Unless you're da Vinci (and you're likely not as the Italian Renaissance genius has been gone more than 500 years), it's confounding. Even with the clue above, it's difficult, slow and labored to see if we made a mistake flipping it. (We didn't. Check it.)

Like language, it works best when blood flows in one direction. From the body, it enters the right atrium and travels down to the right ventricle to be pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Now, restocked with oxygen from the lungs, blood arrives in the left atrium and heads down to the left ventricle to be pumped up through the aorta to the rest of the body before making the trip back to the heart.

And, like language, it's a cycle that’s easy to understand — and it works well when it's going in that one direction.

But when a faulty valve lets blood flow backward, it can be life-threatening.

At the minimum, it makes breathing difficult.

And slow.

And labored.

Just like reading that reversed sentence above.

Enter MitraClip a master stroke of invention, delivered by necessity.

"The paradigm shift was actually made by an Italian surgeon in the middle of a heart operation," said cardiac surgeon Mehmet Oz, who holds a patent on MitraClip. "He needed some desperate hail Mary solution, and he just tacked the leaflets together and it worked."

Indeed it did.

But like blood flowing through a heart suffering from mitral regurgitation, the journey from concept to creation did not go directly forward from its "Eureka!" moment. Like many of the world's great breakthroughs, formalizing the device and procedure initially faced resistance from some of even the brightest medical minds.

"The biggest challenge to MitraClip's success, was the basic belief that it couldn’t be done," Oz said.

But thanks to Abbott’s support, a trial proved MitraClip worthy.

The simplicity of the solution holds the power to its elegant effectiveness. During a minimally invasive procedure, MitraClip is inserted via a catheter into the heart, where MitraClip is positioned to hold the leaflets of the mitral valve together, saving the patient from open-heart surgery and helping to keep blood flowing in the direction the body intended.

With more than 26 million people worldwide suffering from heart failure, most are not good candidates to survive open heart surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve due to their heart failure. Now, more than 100,000 people have benefited1 from the effects of this ingenious invention, lengthening and improving their lives by years.

It's positioned to help even more.

Since its launch, MitraClip is now on its fourth generation with approval in the U.S. and Europe along with other geographies. It also received an expanded indication from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat secondary mitral regurgitation (MR).

To hear more from some of those directly involved in MitraClip’s creation as well as those directly benefitting from it, click the video above. They paint a picture Leonardo would be proud of.



1Abbott data on file.
2The testimonial does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response patients may have to the treatment or effectiveness of the product or therapy in discussion. Opinions about the treatment discussed can and do vary and are specific to the individual's experience and might not be representative of others.

For U.S. important safety information on MitraClip™, visit:



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