Dine With the Docs

Doctor Samir Germanwala answers questions about heart health during Longview Regional Medical Center’s Dine With the Docs, on Tuesday February 27, 2018, at the Hilton Garden Inn. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

Special to the News-Journal

Longview Regional says it is the first hospital in the area to use a minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter mitral valve repair, or TMVR, to correct a serious heart valve condition.

The procedure was performed in July by Regional cardiologist Dr. Samir Germanwala and cardiovascular surgeon Dr. David Jayakar.

The mitral valve is between the two left chambers of the heart and has two flaps of tissue, called leaflets. When functioning correctly, the leaflets open and close to ensure that blood flows in one direction. When the mitral valve fails to close completely, mitral regurgitation occurs, causing blood to leak backward into the heart, according to Regional. Mitral regurgitation can cause complications by forcing the heart and lungs to work harder than normal, which may cause some patients to develop an enlarged heart over time. If left untreated, more serious problems may occur.

Before this procedure, open-heart mitral valve surgery was the only treatment option for this condition. But for some patients, due to age, advanced heart failure or other serious conditions, that type of surgery is not an option. TMVR provides a less-invasive option.

During the procedure, the physician accesses the heart through a vein in the patient’s leg and inserts a thin wire called a catheter, according to Regional. The device is implanted onto the mitral valve clipping together a small area of the valve. While the valve continues to open and close on either side of the clip, blood flows on both sides of the clip reducing the flow of blood in the wrong direction.

The therapy is delivered via a catheter-based approach without a median sternotomy or the use of cardiopulmonary bypass.

“The Longview Regional Medical Center Heart and Vascular team is proud to offer this breakthrough technology for patients to the region,” Germanwala said, adding that Regional is the only facility offering this procedure between Dallas and Shreveport.