Understanding Mitral Valve Prolapse and Associated Heart Risks

Dr. Marc Gerdisch pic
Dr. Marc Gerdisch
Image: franciscanhealth.org

Indianapolis physician Dr. Marc Gerdisch has a well-established reputation for thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and holds leadership responsibilities at Franciscan Health. Dr. Marc Gerdisch has extensive experience in procedures involving mitral and tricuspid valve reconstruction and presented on the subject at the first annual Mitral Conclave in New York in 2011.

Also known as the bicuspid valve, the dual-flap mitral valve is one of the atrioventricular valves that help control the flow of blood from the heart. One common issue associated with the valve is mitral valve prolapse (MVP), which involves the two valve flaps bulging upward, rather than working evenly and smoothly together. This lets a small amount of blood back in through the flap, which can result in heart murmur.

Though the condition is typically harmless and may be symptom free, it can cause symptoms such as chest discomfort, rapid heartbeat, and fatigue. In cases where heart murmur is detected, echocardiograms are recommended as a way of assessing the amount of leaking blood and evaluating the function of the valve cusps. In severe cases, MVP may impact heart function and cause left ventricle enlargement, with abnormal heartbeat a result. This may lead to blood clot formation, which can in turn result in life-threatening strokes.

An Innovative Tissue-Engineered Regenerative Valve Implant Procedure

CorMatrix ECM Tricuspid Valve pic
CorMatrix ECM Tricuspid Valve
Image: cormatrix.com

Serving the Indianapolis community as Franciscan Health’s chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, Dr. Marc Gerdisch, emphasizes a personalized approach to patient care. Innovation focused, Dr. Marc Gerdisch has pioneered a number of therapies and was the first worldwide to perform a tissue engineered regenerative CorMatrix ECM Tricuspid Valve implantation, as part of a phase I clinical device trial.

The unique CorMatrix valve is unstented and flexible, and is designed to enable the cells of the patient to eventually infiltrate and remodel it, such that the tricuspid valve fully functions again. With the implanted valve a part of the individual’s own tissue, there is no foreign body left behind. An added benefit is that no anticoagulation therapies, such as those associated with mechanical valve replacements, are required over the long term.

Dr. Gerdisch described the procedure he performed on a 44-year-old man as being successful, with the patient discharged home in healthy condition and back to work in construction. This contrasted with the man’s state when he entered the emergency room at Franciscan Health with an infected tricuspid valve that no longer functioned and was sending infected debris into the lungs. Unrepairable, the valve required immediate replacement. Dr. Gerdisch noted that the replacement valve appeared on echocardiogram scans as extremely similar to a normally functioning valve.