NHS urged to expand TEER access for all mitral regurgitation patients

A life-saving medical procedure called Trans-catheter Edge-to-edge Repair (or TEER) for a common heart complaint is not available to many patients it could help. Terminology on the current NHS paperwork means thousands of people affected by a ‘leaky valve’ issue called Mitral Regurgitation (MR) are excluded from treatment. A severely leaky mitral valve, if left untreated, can be deadly or cause severe heart failure. UK Charity Valve for Life is urging NHS Chiefs to address the current gap in commissioning.

There was a 10-year funding battle to have TEER commissioned by the NHS in the first place but it has excluded a large number of patients who can benefit for this treatment. The British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS) and Valve for Life have been campaigning for almost two years to ensure that suitable patients with MR have access to treatment.”

Dr Jonathan Byrne, UK Lead of the Valve for Life Programme and Consultant Cardiologist, King’s College London

TEER is a simpler and safer solution than open heart surgery for MR patients. It is performed via keyhole surgery and takes less than two hours. A catheter is guided through a vein in the patient’s groin up to the heart and there one or more implanted ‘clips’ are attached to the mitral valve, which is located in the inner chambers of the heart.

Currently TEER is only commissioned for patients with Degenerative MR (DMR) which occurs when ‘wear and tear’ or a floppy mitral valve causes a severe leak.  Functional MR (FMR), often occurs after a heart attack, or when the heart pump is weak (heart failure) and leads to worsening symptoms and a higher mortality. It can happen at any age but is more common in older patients.

We have a patient story who understands the benefits of TEER. 44-year-old Nicolae Olifirenco. He was treated at King’s College, London in April 2024.

The long-awaited commissioning decision in 2022 for DMR patients was life changing and we can estimate that it has been lifesaving for almost a quarter of a million patients whose MR had the letter ‘D’ in front of it. But FMR patients are still missing out and two years on we are still waiting for the NHS to extend its commissioning decision. As doctors working within the NHS we don’t want these patients waiting any longer.

It is expected that NHS commissioning will expand the decision on Mitral Clip in the near future. We are hopeful that a decision is made in the next few months.


Valve For Life UK


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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