Houston Methodist first in Houston to perform TriClip procedure

Cardiologists perform catheter-based repair of leaky tricuspid heart valve

HOUSTON-(Jan. 13, 2020)- Cardiologists Dr Sachin Goel and Dr Stephen Little at Houston Methodist recently performed the first catheter-based repair in Houston of a leaky tricuspid valve using the novel TriClip system. Using cardiac ultrasound guidance, doctors were able to implant two TriClip devices in a 75-year-old patient as part of the pivotal TRILUMINATE trial, which seeks to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the device.

“The tricuspid valve is sometimes referred to as the forgotten valve. It is located between the right upper and lower chambers of the heart. When we say the valve is leaky, what we mean is that its leaflets do not close tightly enough, causing blood to flow backward into the right atrium when the right ventricle contracts. What this means for patients is weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling and a decline in exercise tolerance, and it typically affects patients 65 and older,” said Stephen Little, M.D., Director of Structural Heart, Houston Methodist.

Until now, conventional open-heart surgery to repair or replace the tricuspid valve has been the only way to treat patients with severe tricuspid regurgitation who continue to have symptoms despite medical therapy. Unfortunately, most patients with severe tricuspid regurgitation are too sick to undergo open-heart surgery, and morbidity and mortality following surgical tricuspid valve repair or replacement remains high.

The TriClip procedure is catheter-based, which allows repair of the valve using a catheter inserted through a large vein in the leg and advanced to the heart. The device works by clipping together a portion of the valve’s leaflets to reduce the backflow of blood. For Houston Methodist’s first patient, Dr. Little provided the cardiac imaging guidance for Sachin Goel, M.D., to implant two TriClip devices.

“As the only hospital in the Houston metropolitan area to be actively participating in the international randomized TRILUMINATE clinical study, we are hopeful that the results will be positive, offering our patients a catheter-based, non-surgical option for resolution of severe tricuspid regurgitation,” said Dr Goel, interventional cardiologist and Medical Director of Structural Heart Interventions at the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “Our first procedure was completed in two hours, and the patient was able to be discharged home the following day. Based on our experience thus far, we believe that the tricuspid valve will no longer be the forgotten valve.”

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