This handout explains what mitral regurgitation is and what you can expect if you have a mitral clip procedure.

Mitral Regurgitation

Mitral regurgitation happens when the two leaflets (flaps) of the mitral valve in your heart do not fully close. This causes blood to flow backward into the left atrium of the heart and toward your lungs.

When you have mitral regurgitation, your heart must work harder. This can increase your risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke and heart failure. Symptoms of mitral regurgitation include:

  • shortness of breath

  • fatigue

  • cough

  • swelling of the feet or ankles


Surgery is the standard treatment however, it is not always an option.

Mitral Clip Procedure

A mitral clip procedure will help reduce how much your mitral valve leaks and help improve symptoms. It is a less invasive option than surgery.

The procedure is done through a blood vessel in your groin, you do not need open heart surgery. It is done in the Cath Lab and you will be asleep for it.

Before the Procedure

To see if a mitral clip is an option for you, you will have a test to look at your mitral valve and the rest of your heart. If it is an option for you, we will schedule you to see at least two of the doctors on our team.

A Cardiothoracic Surgeon will check your risk for surgery. You must be high risk for open heart surgery to qualify for a mitral clip.

An Interventional Cardiologist is the doctor who will do the mitral clip procedure.

You may also see an Echocardiologist to have a heart ultrasound (echo) test.

Some people also need to see a Heart Failure Cardiologist.

During the Procedure

  • You will have patches on your chest to monitor your heart.

  • You will have a plastic clip on your finger to watch your oxygen levels.

  • You will have a small tube (IV) in your vein to give medicine.

  • You will have a small tube in your wrist for us to watch your blood pressure.

  • You will have a catheter placed (thin tube) in a large vein in your groin all the way up to the heart. The catheter passes from the right side of the heart to the left side. This assures it is in the correct position to clip the mitral valve. Once in the right spot, the doctor will place the clip on your mitral valve. The clip is left in place.

After the Procedure

You will spend the night in the hospital. We will watch you closely and help control your pain. Before you leave, you will learn how to care for yourself.

Going Home

A family member or friend must drive you home. It would be helpful for that person to stay with you for the first day or two. It may help to have them be present the day you go home so they can hear the discharge instructions.


You will get prescriptions for medicines. If you plan to fill them at the hospital pharmacy, please bring your insurance card with you.

Follow-Up Visits

You will have a follow up visit with the Echocardiologist 30 days and one year after your procedure. If you did not have an Echocardiologist, you will see the doctor who did the procedure. At these visits you will have a test to look at your heart and labs done to see if the clip is working.

Always tell other doctors (including dentists and eye doctors) that you have a mitral valve clip before any future procedures.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.