Via Christi’s Structural Heart team continues to help advance leading-edge therapies for patients with failing hearts through participation in invitation-only clinical trials like COAPT, for which favorable results recently were shared at TCT 2018, a transcatheter cardiovascular therapeutics symposium held in San Diego.
As part of the randomized study, 614 patients in the United States and Canada suffering from heart failure and severe mitral regurgitation were treated using either Abbott’s MitraClip or with traditional medication therapy.
The study results, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a marked reduction in heart failure rehospitalizations and mortality at two years among those treated with the percutaneous clip procedure.
“The results were amazing,” says structural heart specialist Bassem Chehab, MD, who serves as medical director for Via Christi’s now five-year-old structural heart program. “I’m humbled personally and on behalf of our program to have played a part in this landmark trial that is poised to be a game-changer in the way we treat patients with heart failure and leaking mitral valves.”
Via Christi launched the program in July 2013 with the opening of its hybrid OR and Valve Clinic, with an initial focus on TAVR procedures. Nine months later, MitraClip was added to a growing list of structural procedures. By then, the COAPT trial was well under way.
“We were asked to participate as a high-performing program,” says Chehab, of Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas. Chehab is part of the program’s multidisciplinary core team, which includes Brett Grizzell, MD, of Wichita Surgical Specialists; cardiologist Richard Steckley, MD, of Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas; and physician assistant Richard Allenbach, director of the Via Christi Heart Valve Clinic.
In heart failure, the organ has become damaged and flaccid, often by a heart attack, causing it to pump inefficiently. To compensate, the heart enlarges and pulls apart the mitral valve, which controls blood flow from the left atrium into the left ventricle. This causes the valve to function poorly as its flaps swing apart, allowing blood that is supposed to be pumped into the body to back up into the heart and lungs and the mitral valve to leak.
The leaky mitral valve makes the heart enlarge even more, causing the heart to further fail in its attempt to efficiently regulate blood flow.
“With the MitraClip, the flaps of the mitral valve are clipped together in the middle, converting a barely functioning valve to one that can properly regulate blood flow in and out of the heart,” says Chehab.