ACC: Echocardiography identifies patients for valve repair

Echocardiography can help determine which patients with heart failure and leaking heart valve would benefit from a valve repair procedure rather than traditional medical therapy, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual meeting in New Orleans.

Dr. Frederico Asch of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, shared findings from the Cardiovascular Outcomes Assessment of the MitraClip Percutaneous Therapy for Heart Failure Patients with Functional Mitral Regurgitation (COAPT) trial. The trial explored using a procedure called transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) using MitraClip (Abbott Laboratories) in patients with secondary mitral regurgitation, a condition in which the mitral valve does not close correctly due to problems with the heart's pumping chambers, the ACC said in a statement.

COAPT enrolled 614 patients with heart failure and moderate to severe secondary mitral regurgitation, and the researchers randomly assigned them to undergo TMVR or traditional medical therapy (e.g., diuretics, beta-blockers and other medications, and/or a pacemaker). Asch and colleagues used echocardiography to visualize the hearts of the patients before enrollment and during follow-up visits at one, six, 12, 18, and 24 months.

The group found that patients who underwent TMVR had equally beneficial outcomes compared with those who underwent traditional medical therapy at follow-up, leading the team to conclude that patients with similar characteristics to those in the trial could be considered for this intervention, Asch said in the statement.

"MitraClip was shown to be beneficial in the study population in all subgroups analyzed, regardless of patients' echocardiographic characteristics," he said. "Doing an echocardiogram is critical in determining if a patient is a good candidate for MitraClip and in following these patients to evaluate results of the procedure in the long run."

Abbott funded the study, the ACC said.

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