Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic and Structural Heart Center Offers New Treatment for Most Common Heart Valve Problem

August 07, 2014

Valve Clinic Team is first locally to use device for Mitral Valve Regurgitation

CLEARWATER, Fla., (August 7, 2014) -- Morton Plant Hospital continues to offer the latest treatments in cardiac care, particularly for individuals with heart valve problems who may not be able to have traditional open heart surgery. Morton Plant is among the first hospitals in Florida and the first locally to use the new MitraClip device for people with severe mitral valve regurgitation.

MitraClip, approved by the FDA in October 2013, is the world’s first percutaneous mitral valve repair therapy. MitraClip provides a minimally invasive option for select patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation. Mitral valve regurgitation, the most common type of heart valve disorder in the United States, occurs when the valve separating the left upper collection chamber and left lower pumping chamber of the heart does not close properly. As a result, blood flows backward into the left upper collecting chamber of the heart, decreasing the blood flow to the rest of the body, making the heart work harder.

“This device is the first of its kind to be able to use a transcatheter technique to deal with mitral valve disease and mitral valve regurgitation,” said Joshua Rovin, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon and medical director of the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic and Structural Heart Center. “Our Valve Clinic Team is proud to be the first in our community to offer this less invasive approach to help improve the quality of life for people who may not have other options.”

The MitraClip is a permanent implant device delivered to the heart through a blood vessel in the groin (femoral vein). The heart continues to beat during the procedure and does not require the heart-lung bypass machine, which is common for open-heart surgery. The MitraClip improves valve closure and reduces backflow of blood (regurgitation). The heart returns to pumping blood to the body more efficiently, relieving the patient’s symptoms and improving their quality of life.

“We are able to do real-time positioning and repositioning during the procedure to ensure we are achieving the greatest benefit,” said Douglas Spriggs, MD, an interventional cardiologist and a member of the Valve Clinic Team. “The results are instantaneous, and we can see the improvement immediately during the procedure.”

“The new technology of MitraClip provides additional options for selected patients and has the potential to both improve their quality of life and decrease hospitalizations.  We are delighted to have this significant clinical improvement to help serve the community,” said Lang Lin, MD, an interventional cardiologist and a member of the Valve Clinic Team.

Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic
The Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic is a multi-disciplinary team of cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, and cardiac anesthesiologists focused on working together to determine the best medical or surgical options for each patient. The Valve Clinic coordinates Morton Plant Hospital’s TAVR program.

Since it was the first in the Tampa Bay area to perform the TAVR procedure in 2012, the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic Team has continued to participate at a national level on advances in TAVR treatment including:

  • First hospital in Tampa Bay to use both the transapical (small incision between the ribs of the lower left chest) and transaortic (small incision on the upper chest) approaches instead of a groin incision for TAVR.
  • TAVR PARTNER II Clinical Trial to study second generation Edward’s SAPIEN valve and delivery system designs.
  • Morton Plant Hospital currently is participating in the PARTNER II SAPIEN 3 intermediate risk clinical research trial involving the third generation Edwards replacement valve and delivery system. This nonrandomized study is evaluating the S3 valve in the intermediate risk patient population (patients with an STS risk of 4-8).
  • Completion of more than 240 TAVR procedures with excellent outcomes documented over two years.
  • First hospital in Tampa Bay to offer both the Edwards Sapien and the Medronic CoreValves to treat patients with aortic stenosis.

The team includes: Michael Barry, MD; Gregory Girgenti, MD; Todd Kovach, MD; Lang Lin, MD; Jorge Navas, MD; John Ofenloch, MD; Vijay Patel, MD; Joshua Rovin, MD; Douglas Spriggs, MD; and Saul Tuchman, MD. Patients receive their surgery and recover in Morton Plant’s Morgan Heart Hospital.

For more information about the Morton Plant Hospital’s Valve Clinic, call (855) 448-2583 or log on to

About Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the valve that separates the left upper collecting chamber and the left lower pumping chamber of the heart does not close properly. As a result, blood flows backward (regurgitation) into the left upper collecting chamber of the heart, reducing the blood flow to the rest of the body. The heart must then work harder to push blood through the body, which can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and worsening heart failure. Untreated mitral valve regurgitation can lead to congestive heart failure and other serious heart rhythm problems.

Mitral valve regurgitation is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency in the United States. About 4 million people have significant mitral valve insufficiency. Approximately 50,000 of these patients undergo surgery each year in the United States.

There are no medications indicated to treat mitral regurgitation, but there are medications used to manage patient symptoms. For symptomatic patients diagnosed with moderate-severe or severe mitral valve regurgitation, surgery is generally recommended to repair or replace the mitral valve. Before the MitraClip, this typically involved open-heart surgery with the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass. Recovery from the open-heart approach may take several months to regain normal physical function and activity.

About Morton Plant Hospital
Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility. Our commitment to improving the health of everyone we serve is reflected in our community partnerships and many honors. Morton Plant is the only hospital in the United States to have been awarded Top 100 Hospital designations by the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success for a consecutive 13 years. Other hospital honors include: “Baby-Friendly” hospital status from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its efforts to support mothers’ decision to breast feed and received Florida Hospitals Association’s Innovation of the Year in Patient Care award. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas St., Clearwater, Fla.  For more information about Morton Plant Hospital, call (727) 953-6877.

About BayCare Health System
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 11 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient’s lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need. 

BayCare’s family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, St. Joseph’s Women’s, South Florida Baptist, and Winter Haven. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at