Do you want to know how to fix a leaky heart valve without surgery? If so, you have landed in the right place! Here, you can get a deep insight into the various non-invasive and minimally-invasive techniques existing today to treat a leaky heart valve.
Perhaps, the latest and most advanced methods in medical science can serve as salient replacements for risky open heart surgeries, especially for those patients who are not healthy enough to pursue surgery. In fact, these valve-fixing methods can topple the possibility of extreme blood loss and can secure a recovery sooner than open heart surgery.
Note On: What Is A Leaky Heart Valve?
A heart valve that cannot close properly is, what we call, a leaky heart valve! This makes it more difficult for your heart to pump blood and tends to alter the blood flow backward. Such a condition is also called Valve Regurgitation!
While your heart has four valves that open and close to circulating blood around your body, any damage or stretch to either valve makes it leaky, making the blood flow in the wrong direction throughout your heart. As a result, your heart needs to give more effort to pump blood. In other words, a leaky valve puts extra strain on the most vital organ, your heart!
When you have this condition, your doctor may seek to repair or replace your heart valves via surgery. However, advancement in medical science has contributed to less invasive techniques and continues to do so for treating a leaky heart valve.
What Causes A Leaky Heart Valve?
Multiple health conditions can lead to a leaky heart valve.
Your doctor can tell you the exact reason after performing a diagnosis like an echocardiogram or a Chest CT (computed tomography) scan.
Some of the common causes of a leaky heart valve are –
- High blood pressure in your lungs,
- Enlarged heart,
- Enlarged aorta,
- Congenital (birth) defects,
- Injury or trauma,
- Abnormal heart muscles,
- Coronary artery disease, and so forth.
Besides, some factors like smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and intake of certain supplements can trigger such a condition!
Five Ways To Fix A Leaky Heart Valve Without Surgery!
When it comes to how to fix a leaky heart valve without surgery, five different treatment methods appear in the picture, and they are as follows!
Mitral Clip: The Primary Catheter-Based Treatment For A Leaky Valve!
While the most common type of leaky valve is mitral regurgitation, mitral clip pops up as the primary alternative to open heart surgery, as approved by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration). It is typically a non-invasive heart valve repair treatment where the transcatheter device clips together the faulty leaflets, thereby minimizing blood leakage.
During this valve repair treatment, the surgeon puts a thin and flexible catheter tube through your blood vessels, precisely a large one from the groin, and uses it to insert the mitral clip.
But, patients are eligible to get such treatment only during – 1) Severe mitral valve regurgitation, 2) A case of heart failure with chronic symptoms, 3) Invasive heart surgery is not suitable for the individual, 4) The leaky heart condition is in a fixable condition, and 5) The doctor who refers it expects that the patient has a decent life expectancy after this treatment.
GDS AccuCinch: An Advanced Transcatheter Approach To Treat A Leaky Valve!
Since 2014, clinical trials are going on to establish an advanced and adjustable solution to fix a secondary mitral valve leakage, i.e., regurgitation occurring from issues in the left atrium or left ventricle and not the valves. This solution is called the AccuCinch system, where the implant is fixed on the walls of the ventricle and not the leaflets.
This procedure involves a catheter to place the implant. It makes the heart walls stronger even without intensive heart surgery.
However, this method is yet to receive full approval. In 2022, AccuCinch received the status of a breakthrough device from the FDA, so the development and review of this system can be quicker. And you may just get another non-invasive valve leakage treatment option soon.
Medical Therapy: The Tried, Tested, and Safest Method To Fix A Leaky Valve!
No wonder medications have always been a safer and proven alternative to open heart surgery in the treatment of a leaky valve, especially for those patients who experience mild-to-moderate symptoms.
These medical therapies to fix a leaky heart valve includes – 1) Diuretics to reduce high blood pressure, 2) Vasodilators to minimize the strain on your heart, 3) Blood thinners to topple the risk of developing blood clots, 4) Antibiotics to manage infections affecting your heart, and 5) Certain drugs that can regulate your heart rhythms.
Yes. These medications are not any repair or replacement technique! Instead, they work to relieve symptoms, halt your leaky heart valves from becoming severe, and stop other heart issues from arising that, in turn, can worsen the blood leakage.
TAVR: The Minimally Invasive Technique Of Implanting A New Valve!
TAVR or TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) is typically a minimally invasive process that seeks to replace the older aortic heart valve with a new one!
A study in 2021 reveals that this process is one of the safest and most effective options for fixing an aortic valve leakage. However, research is still ongoing to make this method more accurate and utilize it to cure patients.
Herein, the surgeons have two ways to conduct the valve replacement treatment. First is the transfemoral approach, where the catheter gets inserted via a large artery in your groin, and the second is the transapical approach, where the doctors make a small cut in your chest.
Tricuspid Clip: An Alternative Solution to Surgery For A Leaky Valve Treatment!
The tricuspid clip is a recent alternative solution to both; medical therapy and surgery in fixing a leaky heart valve. The process is called Transcatheter Tricuspid Valve Intervention, or shortly TTVI.
This method aims to fix the tricuspid valve leakage and works similarly to a mitral clip. A tricuspid clip is an edge-to-edge device that clips up the leaflets and reduces blood leakage.
A 2022 study suggests that this method can become a feasible solution to go forward with for patients who are not suitable for open heart surgery. However, its efficacy is yet to be fully proven, and evaluations are ongoing.
By now, you can already understand that medical advances have much in stock to offer new and suitable remedies concerning how to fix a leaky heart valve without surgery. It is only a matter of time before we can establish these remedies as prevalent and significant methods to perform in almost all healthcare centers across the globe. So, keep patience and keep relying on the medical experts.
Whenever you experience symptoms of a leaky heart valve, such as palpitation, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness, body weakness, rapid and unintentional weight gain, fatigue, etc., please do not fail to see a cardiologist.