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Title:
DELIVERY SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR RESHAPING A HEART VALVE ANNULUS, INCLUDING THE USE OF MAGNETIC TOOLS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/027507
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Delivery systems, methods and associated devices to facilitate delivery and deployment of a heart implant. Such delivery systems and methods of delivery include use of a pair of magnetic catheters, including an anchor delivery catheter for delivery of at least one anchor. Such systems further include use of a puncturing guidewire advanceable through the magnetic head of the anchor delivery catheter to establish access to a chamber of a heart and which is attached to a bridging element such that continued advancement of the guidewire draws a bridging element attached to the first anchor across the chamber of the heart while the bridging element remains covered by the magnetically coupled catheters. Methods and devices herein also allow for cutting and removal of a bridge element of a deployed heart implant.

Inventors:
MACHOLD, Timothy R. (65 Bernal Avenue, Moss Beach, California, 94038, US)
THOLFSEN, David R. (771 Superior Avenue, San Leandro, California, 94577, US)
Application Number:
US2018/017175
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
February 07, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MVRX, INC. (1700 S. Amphlett Boulevard, Suite 100San Mateo, California, 94402, US)
International Classes:
A61B17/00; A61F2/00; A61F2/02; A61F2/24
Foreign References:
US20050222488A12005-10-06
US20080275503A12008-11-06
US20090043381A12009-02-12
US20080294177A12008-11-27
US20170216031A12017-08-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAINS, Nena (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Mailstop: IP docketing- 221100 Peachtree Street, Suite 280, Atlanta Georgia, 30309, US)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A method of deploying a heart implant in a heart of a patient, the method comprising:

inserting a first catheter having a distal magnetic head through a first vascular access site in the patient and advancing the first catheter to a first location in the heart;

inserting a second catheter having a distal magnetic head through a second vascular access site in the patient and advancing the second catheter to a second location in the heart, the first and second locations being separated by a tissue wall;

positioning the first and second catheters such that the distal magnetic heads of the first and second catheters magnetically couple across the tissue wall;

penetrating the tissue wall with a penetrating member advanced through the first and second catheters while magnetically coupled;

advancing a bridging element coupled to the posterior anchor through the penetrated tissue wall and into the second catheter while the distal magnetic heads of the first and second catheter remain magnetically coupled;

deploying a posterior anchor from the first catheter at the first location in the heart with the first catheter; and

advancing an anterior anchor along the bridging element from the second vascular access site and deploying the anterior anchor at a third location in the heart and coupling to the bridging element spanning across a chamber of the heart.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the first and second catheters remain substantially stationary relative to each other during deployment of the posterior anchor and advancing of the bridging element from the first catheter through the penetrated tissue wall and into the second catheter.

3. The method of any of claim 1 or 2, further comprising: advancing the bridging element to span across the left atrium by advancing a guide wire attached to the bridging element through the second catheter to exit at the second vasculature access site. 4. The method of any of claims 1 through 3, wherein the posterior anchor is releasably disposed near or along the distal magnetic head of the first catheter.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the bridging element is attached to the posterior anchor at one end and attached to H e penetrating guidewire on an opposite end such that deploying the posterior anchor comprises passing the penetrating guide wire through the second catheter until the bridging element passes through the penetration and across the chamber of the heart.

6. The method of claim 4, wherein deploying the posterior anchor from the first catheter comprises retracting a guidewire extending through the posterior anchor so as to release the posterior anchor from the first anchor.

7. The method of claim 4, wherein deploying the posterior anchor from the first catheter comprises retracting a tether extending through the first guidewire and releasably coupled to the posterior anchor.

8. The method of claim 4, wherein the posterior anchor comprises an elongate member that extends axially within the first catheter.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the posterior anchor includes a recessed contoured region on one side which the posterior anchor is disposed.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the posterior anchor extends at least partly within the recessed contoured region during advancement of the first catheter.

11. The method of claim 4, wherein the posterior anchor is disposed distally of the magnetic head within the first catheter.

12. The method of claim 4, wherein the posterior anchor is over, at least partially, the magnetic head.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein tiie posterior anchor comprises a scaffold. 14. The method of any of claims 1 through 13, wherein the steps of deploying the posterior anchor from the first catheter and advancing a bridging element are performed by a single operator.

15. A delivery system for a heart implant for treatment of a heart valve in a heart chamber, the system comprising:

a first catheter having a proximal and distal end, wherein the first catheter includes a first lumen extending therethrough for passage of a guidewire, wherein the first catheter further includes:

a magnetic head along a distal portion thereof, wherein the magnetic head comprises magnetic poles oriented laterally relative a longitudinal axis of the first catheter and a guide channel defined therein extending to a side hole adjacent a first magnetic pole,

a penetrating guidewire advanceable through a second lumen aligned with the guide channel of the distal magnetic head, wherein the penetrating guidewire has a sharpened distal end to facilitate penetration of tissue;

a posterior anchor releasably coupled with the first catheter along a distal portion thereof; and

a bridging element attached to the posterior anchor at one end and attached to the penetrating guidewire at an opposite end such that advancement of the penetrating guidewire through the side hole and across the heart chamber facilitates advancement of the bridging element across the heart chamber.

16. The delivery system of claim 15, wherein the first catheter further comprises an outer jacket disposed over the magnetic head.

17. The delivery system of any of claim 15 or 16, wherein the posterior anchor is releasably coupled with the first catheter by passage of the guidewire of the first lumen therethrough and/or passage of a tether such that retraction of the guidewire and/or tether facilitates release of the posterior anchor.

18. The delivery system of any of claims 16 through 17, wherein the posterior anchor is an elongate member disposed along or adjacent the distal magnetic head. 19. The delivery system of claim 18, wherein the distal magnetic head includes a contoured recessed portion on one side.

20. The delivery system of claim 19, wherein the posterior anchor is disposed at least partly within the contoured recessed portion of the distal magnetic head during intravascular delivery.

21. The delivery system of claim 18, wherein the posterior anchor is disposed distal of the distal magnetic head.

22. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 21 , wherein the bridging element extends from the posterior anchor and through the side hole and guide channel of the distal magnetic head and extends to a proximal end of the first catheter where the bridging element attaches to a proximal end of the penetrating guidewire when the sharpened distal end of the penetrating guidewire is disposed within or proximal of the side hole during intravascular delivery.

23. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 22, wherein the posterior anchor is a self-expanding scaffold disposed on the distal magnetic head such that retraction of an outer constraining sheath over the scaffold facilitates release of the posterior anchor from the distal magnetic head.

24. The delivery system of claim 23, wherein the expandable scaffold includes a reinforced rib extending longitudinally along the scaffold and to which the bridging element is attached, wherein the reinforced rib extends over or adjacent the side hole during intravascular delivery.

25. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 22, wherein the posterior anchor comprises a non-expandable scaffold that is releasable from the first catheter upon retraction of the first catheter and/or retraction of a tether attached to the scaffold.

26. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 22, wherein the posterior anchor comprises an axially extending elongate member that extends distally from the distal magnetic head, the first catheter further comprising: an outer jacket disposed over at least the distal magnetic head and disposed partly surrounding the posterior anchor, wherein the outer jacket has a distal opening to allow release of the posterior anchor from the outer jacket.

27. The delivery system of claim 26, wherein the outer jacket has a distal opening to allow release of the posterior anchor from the outer jacket therethrough.

28. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 27, wherein the distal magnetic head of the first catheter comprises any of: a single magnet, a two magnet configuration, and a three magnet configuration.

29. The delivery system of any of claims 15 through 28, further comprising:

a second catheter having a proximal and distal end, wherein the second catheter includes a first lumen extending therethrough for passage of a guidewire, wherein the second catheter further includes:

a magnetic head along a distal portion thereof, wherein distal magnetic head comprises magnetic poles oriented axially relative a longitudinal axis of the second catheter and an axial channel defined therein extending to distal hole adjacent a first magnetic pole.

30. The delivery system of claim 29, wherein Hie distal magnetic head of the second catheter is disposed at a distal most location on the second catheter.

31. The delivery system of claim 30, wherein the distal magnetic head is configured such that the first magnetic pole of the first catheter is an opposite polarity as the first magnetic hole of the second catheter so as to facilitate a substantially perpendicular alignment between the first and second catheters when magnetically coupled.

32. The delivery system of claim 29, wherein the distal magnetic heads of the first and second catheter remain magnetically coupled during advancement of the bridging element coupled to the posterior anchor through a penetrated tissue wall and into the second catheter.

33. The delivery system of claim 32, wherein the first and second catheters remain substantially stationary relative to each other during deployment of the posterior anchor and advancement of the bridging element from the first catheter through the penetrated tissue wall and into the second catheter.

34. The delivery system of claim 32, wherein advancement of the guidewire draws the bridging element attached to the posterior anchor across the chamber of the heart while the bridging element remains covered by the magnetically coupled catheters.

35. The delivery system of claim 32, wherein deployment of the posterior anchor from the first catheter and advancement of the bridging element are performed by a single operator.

36. A bridge cutting catheter comprising:

a cutting tip disposed on a distal portion of the catheter, the cutting tip being configured for cutting of a bridge element of an implant mat spans a heart chamber, wherein the cutting tip includes:

a cutting blade having a cutting edge extending along a longitudinal axis of the catheter and a proximal facing end surface that ramps toward the cutting edge so as to direct the bridging element towards the cutting edge when the catheter is proximally retracted while the end surface is engaged with the bridging element, and

a capture loop disposed adjacent the cutting edge and having a portion angled towards the cutting edge to facilitate capture of the bridge element upon proximal retraction of the capture loop and to direct the bridge element towards the end surface of the cutting blade; and

a flexible steerable shaft to facilitate positioning of the cutting tip adjacent the bridge element within the heart.

37. The bridge cutting catheter of claim 36, wherein the cutting tip further includes:

a suture grip configured to hold excess suture after initial cutting of the bridge element with the cutting tip, wherein the suture grip is rotatably actuatable so as to wind up excess suture and facilitate subsequent cutting for removal of a majority of the bridge element.

Description:
DELIVERY SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR RESHAPING A HEART VALVE ANNULUS, INCLUDING THE USE OF MAGNETIC TOOLS

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Serial Number 62/541,375, filed on August 4, 2017, and entitled "DELIVERY SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR RESHAPING A HEART VALVE ANNULUS, INCLUDING THE USE OF

MAGNETIC TOOLS", the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention is directed to devices, systems, and methods for improving delivery of a heart implant, e.g. , in the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Treatments for mitral valve regurgitation are widely varied, encompassing both replacement valves as well as a number of approaches that facilitate repair and reshaping of the valve by use of an implant. While many such approaches rely on intravascular delivery of an implant, these often utilize a system of multiple catheters that are repeatedly exchanged, which is an often complex and time consuming process. To appreciate the difficulties and challenges associated with delivery and deployment of an implant within the human heart, it is useful to understand various aspects of the anatomy of the heart as well as conventional methods of deploying an implant for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation. I. The Anatomy of a Healthy Heart

[0004] As can be seen in FIG. 2A, the human heart is a double-sided (left and right side), self-adjusting pump, the parts of which work in unison to propel blood to all parts of the body. The right side of the heart receives poorly oxygenated ("venous") blood from the body from the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava and pumps it through the pulmonary artery to the lungs for oxygenation. The left side receives well-oxygenation ("arterial") blood from the lungs through the pulmonary veins and pumps it into the aorta for distribution to the body.

[0005] The heart has four chambers, two on each side ~ the right and left atria, and the right and left ventricles. The atriums are the blood-receiving chambers, which pump blood into the ventricles. The ventricles are the blood-discharging chambers. A wall composed of fibrous and muscular parts, called the interatrial septum separates the right and left atriums (see FIGS. 2B-2D). An anatomic landmark on the interatrial septum is an oval, thumbprint sized depression called the oval fossa, or fossa ovalis (FO), shown in FIG. 2C, which is a remnant of the oval foramen and its valve in the fetus and thus is free of any vital structures such as valve structure, blood vessels and conduction pathways. The synchronous pumping actions of the left and right sides of the heart constitute the cardiac cycle. The cycle begins with a period of ventricular relaxation, called ventricular diastole. The cycle ends with a period of ventricular contraction, called ventricular systole. The heart has four valves (see FIGS. 2B and 2C) that ensure that blood does not flow in the wrong direction during the cardiac cycle; that is, to ensure that the blood does not back flow from the ventricles into the corresponding atria, or back flow from the arteries into the corresponding ventricles. The valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle is the mitral valve. The valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle is the tricuspid valve. The pulmonary valve is at the opening of the pulmonary artery. The aortic valve is at the opening of the aorta

[0006] At the beginning of ventricular diastole (i.e., ventricular filling), the aortic and pulmonary valves are closed to prevent back flow from the arteries into the ventricles.

Shortly thereafter, the tricuspid and mitral valves open, as shown in FIG. 2B, to allow flow from the atriums into the corresponding ventricles. Shortly after ventricular systole (i.e., ventricular emptying) begins, the tricuspid and mitral valves close, as shown in FIG. 2C - to prevent back flow from the ventricles into the corresponding atriums— and the aortic and pulmonary valves open ~ to permit discharge of blood into the arteries from the

corresponding ventricles.

[0007] The opening and closing of heart valves occur primarily as a result of pressure differences. For example, the opening and closing of the mitral valve occurs as a result of the pressure differences between the left atrium and the left ventricle. During ventricular diastole, when ventricles are relaxed, the venous return of blood from the pulmonary veins into the left atrium causes the pressure in the atrium to exceed that in the ventricle. As a result, the mitral valve opens, allowing blood to enter the ventricle. As the ventricle contracts during ventricular systole, the intraventricular pressure rises above the pressure in the atrium and pushes the mitral valve shut. [0008] As FIGS. 2B-2C show, the anterior (A) portion of the mitral valve annulus is intimate with the non-coronary leaflet of the aortic valve. Notably, the mitral valve annulus is near other critical heart structures, such as the circumflex branch of the left coronary artery (which supplies the left atrium, a variable amount of the left ventricle, and in many people the SA node) and the AV node (which, with the SA node, coordinates the cardiac cycle). In the vicinity of the posterior (P) mitral valve annulus is the coronary sinus and its tributaries. These vessels drain the areas of the heart supplied by the left coronary artery. The coronary sinus and its tributaries receive approximately 85% of coronary venous blood. The coronary sinus empties into the posterior of the right atrium, anterior and inferior to the fossa ovalis, as can be seen FIG. 2C. A tributary of the coronary sinus is called the great cardiac vein, which courses parallel to the majority of the posterior mitral valve annulus, and is superior to the posterior mitral valve annulus by an average distance of about 9.64 +/- 3. IS millimeters (Yamanouchi, Y, Pacing and Clinical Electrophvsiologv 21(ll):2522-6; 1998).

II. Characteristics and Causes of Mitral Valve Dysfunction [0009] When the left ventricle contracts after filling with blood from the left atrium, the walls of the ventricle move inward and release some of the tension from the papillary muscle and chords. The blood pushed up against the under-surface of the mitral leaflets causes them to rise toward the annulus plane of the mitral valve. As they progress toward the annulus, the leading edges of the anterior and posterior leaflet come together forming a seal and closing the valve. In the healthy heart, leaflet coaptation occurs near the plane of the mitral annulus. The blood continues to be pressurized in the left ventricle until it is ejected into the aorta. Contraction of the papillary muscles is simultaneous with the contraction of the ventricle and serves to keep healthy valve leaflets tightly shut at peak contraction pressures exerted by the ventricle.

[0010] In a healthy heart (shown in FIGS. 2E-2F), the dimensions of the mitral valve annulus create an anatomic shape and tension such that the leaflets coapt, forming a tight junction, at peak contraction pressures. Where the leaflets coapt at the opposing medial (CM) and lateral (CL) sides of the annulus are called the leaflet commissures. Valve malfunction can result from the chordae tendineae (the chords) becoming stretched, and in some cases tearing. When a chord tears, the result is a leaflet that flails. Also, a normally structured valve may not function properly because of an enlargement of or shape change in the valve annulus. This condition is referred to as a dilation of the annulus and generally results from heart muscle failure. In addition, the valve may be defective at birth or because of an acquired disease. Regardless of the cause, mitral valve dysfunction can occur when the leaflets do not coapt at peak contraction pressures, as shown in FIG. 2G. In such cases, the coaptation line of the two leaflets is not tight at ventricular systole. As a result, an undesired back flow of blood from the left ventricle into the left atrium can occur, commonly known as mitral regurgitation. This has two important consequences. First, blood flowing back into the atrium may cause high atrial pressure and reduce the flow of blood into the left atrium from the lungs. As blood backs up into the pulmonary system, fluid leaks into the lungs and causes pulmonary edema. Second, the blood volume going to the atrium reduces volume of blood going forward into the aorta causing low cardiac output. Excess blood in the atrium over-fills the ventricle during each cardiac cycle and causes volume overload in the left ventricle.

[0011] Mitral regurgitation is categorized into two main types, (i) organic or structural and (ii) functional. Organic mitral regurgitation results from a structurally abnormal valve component that causes a valve leaflet to leak during systole. Functional mitral regurgitation results from annulus dilation due to primary congestive heart failure, which is itself generally surgically unbeatable, and not due to a cause like severe irreversible ischemia or primary valvular heart disease. Organic mitral regurgitation is seen when a disruption of the seal occurs at the free leading edge of the leaflet due to a ruptured chord or papillary muscle making the leaflet flail; or if the leaflet tissue is redundant, the valves may prolapse the level at which coaptation occurs higher into the atrium with further prolapse opening the valve higher in the atrium during ventricular systole. Functional mitral regurgitation occurs as a result of dilation of heart and mitral annulus secondary to heart failure, most often as a result of coronary artery disease or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Comparing a healthy annulus in FIG. 7 to an unhealthy annulus in FIG. 9, the unhealthy annulus is dilated and, in particular, the anterior-to-posterior distance along the minor axis (line P-A) is increased. As a result, the shape and tension defined by the annulus becomes less oval (see FIG. 7) and more round (see FIG. 9). This condition is called dilation. When the annulus is dilated, the shape and tension conducive for coaptation at peak contraction pressures progressively deteriorate.

ΙΠ. Prior Treatment Modalities [0012] It is reported that twenty-five percent of the six million Americans who will have congestive heart failure will have functional mitral regurgitation to some degree. This constitutes the 1.5 million people with functional mitral regurgitation. In the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation, diuretics and/or vasodilators can be used to help reduce the amount of blood flowing back into the left atrium An intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation device is used if the condition is not stabilized with medications. For chronic or acute mitral valve regurgitation, surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve is often necessary.

[0013] By interrupting the cycle of progressive functional mitral regurgitation, it has been shown in surgical patients that survival is increased and in fact forward ejection fraction increases in many patients. The problem with surgical therapy is the significant insult it imposes on these chronically ill patients with high morbidity and mortality rates associated with surgical repair.

[0014] Currently, patient selection criteria for mitral valve surgery are very selective and typically performed only on patients having normal ventricular function, generally good health, a predicted lifespan of greater than 3 to 5 years, NYHA Class in or IV symptoms, and at least Grade 3 regurgitation. Patients that do not meet these requirements, typically older patients in poor health, are not good candidates for surgical procedures, especially open surgical procedures. Such patients benefit greatly from shorter, less invasive surgical procedures that improve valve function, such as any of those described in U.S. Application No. 14/945,722. However, such patients could benefit from further improvements in minimally invasive surgical procedures to deploy such valve treatment and repair implants, systems, reducing the complexity of delivery systems and duration of the procedures, as well as consistency, reliability and ease of use.

[0015] Thus, there is a need for further improvements that reduce the complexity of such delivery systems and improved methods of delivery that reduce the duration of the procedures, and improve the consistency, reliability and ease of use for the clinician, e.g., in the deployment of heart implants for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The invention provides delivery systems and associated device and deployment methods for heart implants that reshape a heart valve annulus, specifically the mitral valve for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation. [0017] One aspect of the invention provides methods, systems and associated devices for delivery and deployment of heart implants for reshaping a heart valve annulus. Such methods and systems include the use of first and second magnetic catheters, at least one catheter being further configured to deploy an anchor within a vasculature. The first and second catheters each may include a guide lumen having a distal opening, and magnetic or ferromagnetic materials placed adjacent the distal openings of both guide lumens. The magnetic or ferromagnetic materials are desirably sized and configured to magnetically couple the distal opening of the first catheter to the distal opening of the second catheter in an alignment that accommodates passage of an operative component between the guide lumens of the first and second catheters to facilitate deployment of at least one anchor and deployment of a bridging element attached to the anchor across a chamber of the heart.

[0018] In some embodiments, the delivery system comprises a pair of magnetic catheters that remain magnetically coupled across a tissue wall while the tissue wall is penetrated with a penetrating guidewire, subsequent advancement of which delivers the bridging element through the penetration and across a chamber of the heart and deployment of at least one anchor from one of the catheters within the vasculature or adjacent tissues. In some embodiments, the first and second magnetic catheters remain substantially stationary during deployment of a posterior anchor and advancement of the bridging element from the first catheter through a penetrated tissue wall and into the second catheter. Such configurations improve the consistency and reliability of delivery and deployment as compared to conventional approaches requiring exchanges of multiple catheters during this process. In addition, safety of the procedure is improved by ensuring the penetrating guidewire and bridging element remain covered by the magnetic catheters during delivery and deployment. Such catheter configuration provide a robust and reliable manner to deliver and deploy an implant having an anchor and attached bridging element such that the complexity of the procedure can be reduced. In one aspect, the catheter configurations described herein allow for delivery of the implant by use of a single operator since simultaneous manipulation of multiple catheters is not required. In another aspect, the improved reliability of the approach reduces the level of visualization required at various times during the procedure. For example, whereas use of visualization techniques such as 3D echocardiography and computed tomography (CT) with contrast media are often needed to facilitate delivery with conventional implantation approaches, the improved safety and reliability provided by the catheter systems and methods herein allow these procedures to be performed with 2D echocardiography and/or Fluoroscopy without contrast media, at least during the initial delivery and placement of the implant.

[0019] Methods of deploying a heart implant in a heart of a patient are provided herein. Such methods can include steps of: inserting a first catheter having a distal magnetic head through a first vascular access site in the patient and advancing the first catheter to a first location in the heart (e.g. great cardiac vein). A second catheter having a distal magnetic head can then be inserted through a second vascular access site in the patient and advancing the second catheter to a second location in the heart (e.g. left atrium), the first and second locations being separated by a tissue wall. Next, the first and second catheters are positioned so that the distal magnetic heads of the first and second catheters magnetically couple across the tissue wall and automatically align respective lumens of the catheters to establish access, typically from the vasculature to the heart chamber. Once magnetically coupled, a penetrating member (e.g. puncturing guidewire) is advanced through first and second catheters while magnetically coupled. A bridging element attached to the penetrating member is advanced through the catheters while magnetically coupled by pulling the penetrating member from the second vascular access point. The posterior anchor is released and deployed from the from the first catheter at the first location in the heart. One or more additional anchors are then deployed and attached to the bridging element spanning the heart chamber and adjusted so as to reshape the heart chamber as desired to achieve improved valve function.

[0020] In another aspect, anchor delivery catheter configurations having a distal magnetic head for use in the above described methods are provided herein. Bridging cutting and removal catheters to facilitate removal of a deployed implant are also provided.

[0021] Other features and advantages of the invention shall be apparent based upon the accompanying description, drawings, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] FIG. 1 depicts an overview of a catheter system for intravascular delivery of a heart implant for treatment of mitral regurgitation, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

[0023] FIG. 2 A is an anatomic anterior view of a human heart, with portions broken away and in section to view the interior heart chambers and adjacent structures. [0024] FIG. 2B is an anatomic superior view of a section of the human heart showing the tricuspid valve in the right atrium, the mitral valve in the left atrium, and the aortic valve in between, with the tricuspid and mitral valves open and the aortic and pulmonary valves closed during ventricular diastole (ventricular filling) of the cardiac cycle. [0025] FIG. 2C is an anatomic superior view of a section of the human heart shown in FIG. 2B, with the tricuspid and mitral valves closed and the aortic and pulmonary valves opened during ventricular systole (ventricular emptying) of the cardiac cycle.

[0026] FIG. 2D is an anatomic anterior perspective view of the left and right atriums, with portions broken away and in section to show the interior of the heart chambers and associated structures, such as die fossa ovalis, coronary sinus, and the great cardiac vein.

[0027] FIG. 2E is a superior view of a healthy mitral valve, with the leaflets closed and coapting at peak contraction pressures during ventricular systole.

[0028] FIG. 2F is an anatomic superior view of a section of the human heart, with the normal mitral valve shown in FIG. 2E closed during ventricular systole (ventricular emptying) of the cardiac cycle.

[0029] FIG. 2G is a superior view of a dysfunctional mitral valve, with the leaflets failing to coapt during peak contraction pressures during ventricular systole, leading to mitral regurgitation.

[0030] FIGS. 3 A and 3B are anatomic anterior perspective views of the left and right atriums, with portions broken away and in section to show the presence of an implant system with an inter-atrial bridging element that spans the mitral valve annulus between a posterior anchor positioned in the great cardiac vein and an anterior anchor within the inter-atrial septum, which is suitable for delivery with catheter systems and delivery methods of the invention.

[0031] FIGS. 4A-4B are detail views showing an anterior anchor deployed within the fossa ovalis of the inter-atrial septum and the posterior anchor deployed within the great cardiac vein.

[0032] FIGS. 5A-5B show detail views of an example anterior anchor suitable of the implant that is suitable for anchoring within the patent fossa ovalis of the inter-atrial septum. [0033] FIGS. 6A-6B show an example locking bridge stop for locking the bridging element relative the anterior anchor of the implant.

[0034] FIGS. 7A-7B show alternative examples of heart implants suitable for intravascular delivery in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0035] FIGS. 8A-8B alternative examples of posterior anchors attached to a bridging element for an implant suitable for intravascular delivery in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0036] FIGS. 9A-9B show alternative examples of posterior anchors for heart implants suitable for intravascular delivery in accordance with aspects of the invention. [0037] FIGS. 10-12D show various components and steps of deploying an implant system, such as mat shown in FIGS. 10A-10B, with a catheter-based delivery system in accordance with a conventional delivery approach.

[0038] FIG. 13 shows a catheter-based delivery system for deployment of an implant system in which a bridging element attached to an anchor has been fed from a first vascular access point to a second vascular access point while first and second catheters are

magnetically coupled accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0039] FIGS. 14A-16D illustrates sequential steps in delivery and deployment of the implant system for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0040] FIGS. 17-19 illustrates example catheter systems for delivery and deployment of an implant system for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0041] FIG. 20 depicts an exemplary method of delivering and deploying an implant system for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0042] FIGS. 21 A-21C depicts cutting of a bridge element of an implant with a bridge cutting catheter, in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0043] FIGS. 22-23B depict cutting and removal of a bridge element of an implant with a bridge cutting catheter with suture grip, in accordance with aspects of the invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0044] Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely exemplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structures. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.

[0045] FIG. 1 shows an example embodiment of a catheter-based delivery system in accordance with aspects of the invention. The delivery system utilizes a pair of magnetic catheters that are advanced from separate vascular access points and magnetically coupled across a tissue within the heart. The pair of catheters include a great cardiac vein (GOV) anchor delivery catheter 50 which is introduced from the jugular vein and advanced along a superior vena cava (SVC) approach to the GCV, and a left atrial (LA) catheter 60, which is introduced at the femoral vein and introduced along an inferior vena cava (TVC) approach, across the inter-atrial septum and into the left atrium. Each catheter includes a magnetic head along a distal portion thereof (magnetic head 52 of catheter 50 and magnetic head 62 of catheter 60) such that when magnetically coupled, the catheters provide a stable region to facilitate penetration of a tissue wall between the LA and GCV and subsequent advancement of the puncturing guidewire 54 through the GCV catheter 50 and into the LA catheter 60. Notably, a trailing end of the puncturing guidewire 54 is attached to one end of a bridging element 12 (e.g. suture), the other end of which is attached to posterior anchor 18 disposed on the distal portion of GCV catheter 50. Such a configuration allows the bridging element 12 to be advanced across the left atrium by advancing the puncturing guidewire 54 through the LA catheter 60 to exit from the femoral vein, while magnetically coupled, as shown in FIG. 13. Performing this process while the GCV catheter 50 and LA catheter 60 are magnetically coupled provides improved stability during the process and, more importantly, covers the puncturing guidewire 54 and bridging element 12 while being pulled across the delicate tissues of the heart. The benefits of such a configuration, as compared to conventional delivery approaches, include improved safety for the patient, single operator deployment, significantly reduced duration of the deployment procedure and reduced delivery device lengths and cost of goods. The advantages of such an approach in deploying the implant can be understood further by referred to the following figures, which describe the implant and associated components in more detail as well as conventional approaches of delivery and deploying such implants. I. Heart Implants for Treatment/Repair of a Heart Valve Annulus

A. Implant Structure

[0046] FIGS. 3A-3B show embodiments of an implant 10 that is sized and configured to extend across the left atrium in generally an anterior-to-posterior direction, spanning the mitral valve annulus. The implant 10 comprises a spanning region or bridging element 12 having a posterior anchor region 14 and an anterior anchor region 16.

[0047] The posterior anchor region 14 is sized and configured to allow the bridging element 12 to be placed in a region of atrial tissue above the posterior mitral valve annulus. This region is preferred, because it generally presents more tissue mass for obtaining purchase of the posterior anchor region 14 than in a tissue region at or adjacent to the posterior mitral annulus. Engagement of tissue at this supra-annular location also may reduce risk of injury to the circumflex coronary artery. In a small percentage of cases, the circumflex coronary artery may pass over and medial to the great cardiac vein on the left atrial aspect of the great cardiac vein, coming to lie between the great cardiac vein and endocardium of the left atrium However, since the forces in the posterior anchor region are directed upward and inward relative to the left atrium and not in a constricting manner along the long axis of the great cardiac vein, the likelihood of circumflex artery compression is less compared to other technologies in this field that do constrict the tissue of the great cardiac vein. Nevertheless, should a coronary angiography reveal circumflex artery stenosis, the symmetrically shaped posterior anchor may be replaced by an asymmetrically shaped anchor, such as where one limb of a T-shaped member is shorter than the other, thus avoiding compression of the crossing point of the circumflex artery. The asymmetric form may also be selected first based on a pre-placement angiogram

[0048] An asymmetric posterior anchor may be utilized for other reasons as well. The asymmetric posterior anchor may be selected where a patient is found to have a severely stenotic distal great cardiac vein, where the asymmetric anchor better serves to avoid obstruction of that vessel. In addition, an asymmetric anchor may be chosen for its use in selecting application of forces differentially and preferentially on different points along the posterior mitral annulus to optimize treatment, i.e., in cases of malformed or asymmetrical mitral valves. [0049] The anterior anchor region 16 is sized and configured to allow the bridging element 12 to be placed, upon passing into the right atrium through the septum, adjacent tissue in or near the right atrium For example, as is shown in FIGS. 3A-3B, the anterior anchor region 16 may be adjacent or abutting a region of fibrous tissue in the interatrial septum As shown, the anchor site 16 is desirably superior to the anterior mitral annulus at about the same elevation or higher Irian the elevation of the posterior anchor region 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the anterior anchor region 16 is adjacent to or near the inferior rim of the fossa ovalis. Alternatively, the anterior anchor region 16 can be located at a more superior position in the septum, e.g., at or near the superior rim of the fossa ovalis. The anterior anchor region 16 can also be located in a more superior or inferior position in the septum, away from the fossa ovalis, provided that the anchor site does not harm the tissue in the region.

[0050] Alternatively, the anterior anchor region 16, upon passing through the septum into the right atrium, may be positioned within or otherwise extend to one or more additional anchors situated in surrounding tissues or along surrounding areas, such as within the superior vena cava (SVC) or the inferior vena cava (IVC).

[0051] In use, the spanning region or bridging element 12 can be placed into tension between the two anchor regions 14 and 16. The implant 10 thereby serves to apply a direct mechanical force generally in a posterior to anterior direction across the left atrium The direct mechanical force can serve to shorten the minor axis (along line P-A in FIG. 2E) of the annulus. In doing so, the implant 10 can also reactively reshape the annulus along its major axis (line CM-CL in FIG. 2E) and/or reactively reshape other surrounding anatomic structures. It should be appreciated, however, the presence of the implant 10 can serve to stabilize tissue adjacent the heart valve annulus, without affecting the length of the minor or major axes.

[0052] It should also be appreciated that, when situated in other valve structures, the axes affected may not be the "major" and "minor" axes, due to the surrounding anatomy. In addition, in order to be therapeutic, the implant 10 may only need to reshape the annulus during a portion of the heart cycle, such as during late diastole and early systole when the heart is most full of blood at the onset of ventricular systolic contraction, when most of the mitral valve leakage occurs. For example, the implant 10 may be sized to restrict outward displacement of the annulus during late ventricular diastolic relaxation as the annulus dilates. [0053] The mechanical force applied by the implant 10 across the left atrium can restore to the heart valve annul us and leaflets a more normal anatomic shape and tension. The more normal anatomic shape and tension are conducive to coaptation of the leaflets during late ventricular diastole and early ventricular systole, which, in turn, reduces mitral regurgitation. [0054] In its most basic form, the implant 10 is made from a biocompatible metallic or polymer material, or a metallic or polymer material that is suitably coated, impregnated, or otherwise treated with a material to impart biocompatibilit , or a combination of such materials. The material is also desirably radio-opaque or incorporates radio-opaque features to facilitate fluoroscopic visualization. [0055] The implant 10 can be formed by bending, shaping, joining, machining, molding, or extrusion of a metallic or polymer wire form structure, which can have flexible or rigid, or inelastic or elastic mechanical properties, or combinations thereof. Alternatively, the implant 10 can be formed from metallic or polymer thread-like or suture material. Materials from which the implant 10 can be formed include, but are not limited to, stainless steel, Nitinol, titanium, silicone, plated metals, Elgjloy™, NP55, and NP57.

B. The Posterior Anchor Region

[0056] The posterior anchor region 14 is sized and configured to be located within or at the left atrium at a supra-annular position, i.e., positioned within or near the left atrium wall above the posterior mitral annul us. [0057] In the illustrated embodiment, the posterior anchor region 14 is shown to be located generally at the level of the great cardiac vein, which travels adjacent to and parallel to the majority of the posterior mitral valve annulus. This extension of the coronary sinus can provide a strong and reliable fluoroscopic landmark when a radio-opaque device is placed within it or contrast dye is injected into it. As previously described, securing the bridging element 12 at this supra-annular location also lessens the risk of encroachment of and risk of injury to the circumflex coronary artery compared to procedures applied to the mitral annulus directly. Furthermore, the supra-annular position assures no contact with the valve leaflets therefore allowing for coaptation and reduces the risk of mechanical damage.

[0058] The great cardiac vein also provides a site where relatively thin, non-fibrous atrial tissue can be readily augmented and consolidated. To enhance hold or purchase of the posterior anchor region 14 in what is essentially non-fibrous heart tissue, and to improve distribution of the forces applied by the implant 10, the posterior anchor region 14 may include a posterior anchor 18 placed within the great cardiac vein and abutting venous tissue. This makes possible the securing of the posterior anchor region 14 in a non-fibrous portion of the heart in a manner that can nevertheless sustain appreciable hold or purchase on that tissue for a substantial period of time, without dehiscence, expressed in a clinically relevant timef ame.

C. The Anterior Anchor Region

[0059] The anterior anchor region 16 is sized and configured to allow the bridging element 12 to remain firmly in position adjacent or near the fibrous tissue and the surrounding tissues in the right atrium side of the atrial septum The fibrous tissue in this region provides superior mechanical strength and integrity compared with muscle and can better resist a device pulling through. The septum is the most fibrous tissue structure in its own extent in the heart. Surgically handled, it is usually one of the only heart tissues into which sutures actually can be placed and can be expected to hold without pledgets or deep grasps into muscle tissue, where the latter are required.

[0060] As shown in FIGS. 10A-10B, the anterior anchor region 16 passes through the septal wall at a supra-annular location above the plane of the anterior mitral valve annulus. The supra-annular distance on the anterior side can be generally at or above the supra-annular distance on the posterior side. The anterior anchor region 16 is shown at or near the inferior rim of the fossa ovalis, although other more inferior or more superior sites can be used within or outside the fossa ovalis, taking into account the need to prevent harm to the septal tissue and surrounding structures.

[0061] By locating the bridging element 12 at this supra-annular level within the right atrium, which is fully outside the left atrium and spaced well above the anterior mitral annulus, the implant 10 avoids the impracticalities of endovascular attachment at or adjacent to the anterior mitral annulus, where there is just a very thin rim of annulus tissue that is bounded anteriorly by the anterior leaflet, inferiorly by the aortic outflow tract, and medially by the atrioventricular node of the conduction system The anterior mitral annulus is where the non-coronary leaflet of the aortic valve attaches to the mitral annulus through the central fibrous body. Anterior location of the implant 10 in the supra-annular level within the right atrium (either in the septum or in a vena cava) avoids encroachment of and risk of injury to both the aortic valve and the AV node. [0062] The purchase of the anterior anchor region 16 in fibrous septal tissue is desirably enhanced by a septal member 30 or an anterior anchor 20, or a combination of both. FIGS. 10A and 10B show the anterior anchor region including a septal member 30. FIG. IOC shows the anterior anchor region without a septal member. The septal member 30 may be an expandable device and also may be a commercially available device such as a septal occluder, e.g., Amplatzer® PFO Occluder (see FIGS. 5A-5B). The septal member 30 preferably mechanically amplifies the hold or purchase of the anterior anchor region 16 in the fibrous tissue site. The septal member 30 also desirably increases reliance, at least partly, on neighboring anatomic structures of the septum to make firm the position of the implant 10. In addition, the septal member 30 may also serve to plug or occlude the small aperture that was created in the fossa ovalis or surrounding area during the implantation procedure.

[0063] Anticipating that pinpoint pulling forces will be applied by the anterior anchor region 16 to the septum, the forces acting on the septal member 30 should be spread over a moderate area, without causing impingement on valve, vessels or conduction tissues. With the pulling or tensioning forces being transmitted down to the annul us, shortening of the minor axis is achieved. A flexurally stiff septal member is preferred because it will tend to cause less focal narrowing in the direction of bridge element tension of the left atrium as tension on the bridging element is increased. The septal member 30 should also have a low profile configuration and highly washable surfaces to diminish thrombus formation for devices deployed inside the heart. The septal member may also have a collapsed

configuration and a deployed configuration. The septal member 30 may also include a hub 31 (see FIGS. SA and SB) to allow attachment of the anchor 20. A septal brace may also be used in combination with the septal member 30 and anterior anchor 20 to distribute forces uniformly along the septum. Alternatively, devices in the IVC or the SVC can be used as anchor sites, instead of confined to the septum.

[0064] Location of the posterior and anterior anchor regions 14 and 16 having radio-opaque bridge locks and well demarcated fluoroscopic landmarks respectively at the supra-annular tissue sites just described, not only provides freedom from key vital structure damage or local impingement— e.g., to the circumflex artery, AV node, and the left coronary and non- coronary cusps of the aortic valve - but the supra-annular focused sites are also not reliant on purchase between tissue and direct tension-loaded penetrating / biting / holding tissue attachment mechanisms. Instead, physical structures and force distribution mechanisms such as stents, T-shaped members, and septal members can be used, which better accommodate the attachment or abutment of mechanical levers and bridge locks, and through which potential tissue tearing forces can be better distributed. Further, the anchor sites 14, 16 do not require the operator to use complex imaging. Adjustment of implant position after or during implantation is also facilitated, free of these constraints. The anchor sites 14, 16 also make possible full intra-atrial retrieval of the implant 10 by endovascularly snaring and then cutting the bridging element 12 at either side of the left atrial wall, from which it emerges.

D. Orientation of the Bridging Element

[0065] In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3A-3B, the implant 10 is shown to span the left atrium beginning at a posterior point of focus superior to the approximate mid-point of the mitral valve annulus, and proceeding in an anterior direction in a generally straight path directly to the region of anterior focus in the septum. The spanning region or bridging element 12 of the implant 10 may be preformed or otherwise configured to extend in this essentially straight path above the plane of the valve, without significant deviation in elevation toward or away from the plane of the annulus, other than as dictated by any difference in elevation between the posterior and anterior regions of placement. It is appreciated that such implants can include bridging member with lateral or medial deviations and/or superior or inferior deviations and can include bridging members that are rigid or semi-rigid and/or substantially fixed in length.

E. Posterior and Anterior Anchors [0066] It is to be appreciated that an anchor as described herein, including a posterior or anterior anchor, describes an apparatus that may releasibly hold the bridging element 12 in a tensioned state. As can be seen in FIGS. 4A-4B, anchors 20 and 18 respectively are shown releasibly secured to the bridging element 12, allowing the anchor structure to move back and forth independent of the inter-atrial septum and inner wall of the great cardiac vein during a portion of the cardiac cycle when the tension force may be reduced or becomes zero.

Alternative embodiments are also described, all of which may provide this function. It is also to be appreciated that the general descriptions of posterior and anterior anchors are non- limiting to the anchor function, i.e., a posterior anchor may be used anterior, and an anterior anchor may be used posterior.

[0067] When the bridging element is in an abutting relationship to a septal member or a T- shaped member, for example, the anchor allows the bridging element to move freely within or around the septal member or T-shaped member, i.e., the bridging element is not connected to the septal member or T-shaped member. In this configuration, the bridging element is held in tension by the locking bridge stop, whereby the septal member or T-shaped member serves to distribute the force applied by the bridging element across a larger surface area.

Alternatively, the anchor may be mechanically connected to the septal member or T-shaped member, e.g., when the bridge stop is positioned over and secured to the septal member hub. In this configuration, the bridging element is fixed relative to the septal member position and is not free to move about the septal member.

[0068] FIGS. 6A-6B show perspectives views of an example locking bridge stop 20 in accordance with the present invention. Each bridge stop 20 preferably includes a fixed upper body 302 and a movable lower body 304. Alternatively, the upper body 302 may be movable and the lower body 304 may be fixed. The upper body 302 and lower body 304 are positioned circumjacent a tubular shaped rivet 306. The upper body 302 and lower body 304 are preferably held in position by the rivet head 308 and a base plate 310. The rivet 306 and base plate 310 includes a predetermined inner diameter 312, sized so as to allow the bridge stop 300 to be installed over a guide wire. A spring, such as a spring washer 314, or also known in the mechanical art as a Belleville Spring, is positioned circumjacent the rivet 306 and between the rivet head 308 and the upper body 302, and applies an upward force on the lower body 304. The lower body 304 is movable between a bridge unlocked position (see FIG. 6A), and a bridge locked position (see FIG. 6B). In the bridge unlocked position, the lower body 304 and the upper body 302 are not in contacting communication, creating a groove 320 between the upper body 302 and lower body 304. In the bridge locked position, the axial force of the spring washer 314 urges the lower body 304 into contacting, or near contacting communication with the upper body 302, whereby the bridging element 12, which has been positioned within the groove 320, is locked in place by the axial force of the lower body 304 being applied to the upper body 302. In use, the bridging element 12 is positioned within the groove 320 while the lower body 304 is maintained in the bridge unlocked position 316. The bridge stop 300 is positioned against the septal member 30 and the bridging element 12 is adjusted to proper tension. The lower body 304 is then allowed to move toward the upper body 302, thereby fixing the position of the bridge stop 300 on the bridging element 12. While this example depicts a particular locking bridge stop design, it is appreciated that any suitable lock could be used, including any of the types described in U.S. Patent Publication 2017/0055969. [0069] FIGS. 7A-7B show alternative heart implants suitable for delivery with the methods and delivery s stems described herein. FIG. 7 A shows an implant 10' having a T-shaped posterior anchor 18 in the great cardiac vein and T-shaped anterior anchor 70. The anterior T- shaped bridge stop 75 may be of a construction of any of the T-shaped bridge stop embodiments described. The T-shaped member 75 includes a lumen 75 extending through the T-shaped member 75 perpendicular to the length of the T-shaped member. The bridging element 12 may be secured by a free floating bridge stop as previously described. FIG. 7B shows an implant 10" having a T-shaped posterior anchor 18 in the great cardiac vein and a lattice style anterior anchor 76. The lattice 77 is positioned on the septal wall at or near the fossa ovalis. Optionally, the lattice 77 may include a reinforcement strut 78 to distribute the bridging element 12 tension forces over a greater area on the septal wall. The anterior lattice style bridge stop 76 may be packed in a deployment catheter with the bridging element 12 passing through its center. The lattice 77 is preferably self-expanding and may be deployed by a plunger. The bridging element 12 may be secured by a free floating bridge stop as previously described. It is appreciated that various other such implants could be devised that utilized the same concepts as in the above described implants for delivery and deployment with the systems and methods described herein.

[0070] FIGS. 8A-8B show alternative methods of connecting the bridging element 12 to a T-shaped posterior anchor. FIG. 8 A shows a T-shaped member 18 where the bridging element 12 is wound around a central portion of the T-shaped member. The bridging element 12 may be secured by adhesive 712, knot, or a securing band placed over the bridging element 12, for example. Alternatively, the bridging element 12 may first be threaded through a lumen 714 extending through the T-shaped posterior anchor 18 perpendicular the length of the T-shaped member. The bridging element 12 may then be wound around the T- shaped member, and secured by adhesive 712, securing band, or knot, for example. FIG. 8B shows a T-shaped member 18 where the bridging element 12 is welded or forged to a plate 716. The plate 716 may then be embedded within the T-shaped member 710, or alternatively, secured to the T-shaped member 710 by gluing or welding, for example. It is appreciated that various other couplings could be used to secure the bridging element 12 and posterior anchor 18 and facilitate delivery with the systems and methods described herein.

[0071] FIGS. 9A-9B depict alternative anchors suitable for use as posterior anchors within a heart implant in accordance with the invention. FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a T- shaped anchor 18* that includes an intravascular stent 80 and, optionally, a reinforcing strut 81. The stent 80 may be a balloon expandable or self-expanding stent. As previously described, the T-shaped anchor 18' is preferably connected to a predetermined length of the bridging element 12. The bridging element 12 may be held within, on, or around the T- shaped bridge stop 80 through the use of any of the bridge locks as previously described, or may be connected to the T-shaped anchor 18 by way of tying, welding, or gluing, for example, or any combination. FIG. 9B depicts a T-shaped anchor 18" that includes a flexible tube 90 having a predetermined length, e.g., three to eight centimeters, and an inner diameter 91 sized to allow at least a guide wire to pass through. The tube 90 is preferably braided, but may be solid as well, and may also be coated with a polymer material. Each end of the tube 90 preferably includes a radio-opaque marker 92 to aid in locating and positioning the T- shaped anchor. The tube 90 also preferably includes atraumatic ends to protect the vessel walls. The tube may be flexurally curved or preshaped so as to generally conform to the curved shape of the great cardiac vein or interatrial septum and be less traumatic to surrounding tissue. A reinforcing center tube 93 may also be included to add stiffness to the anchor and aids in preventing egress of the anchor from the great cardiac vein and left atrium wall. The bridging element 12 extends through a central hole 94 in an interior side of the reinforcing center tube 93. Each of the anchors described can be straight or curvilinear in shape, or flexile so as to accommodate an anatomy. It is appreciated that various other type of anchors could be used a posterior anchor 18 attached to bridging element 12 for delivery and deployment with the systems and methods described herein.

Π. General Methods of Delivery and Implantation

[0072] The implants systems 10 described herein lend themselves to implantation in a heart valve annul us in various ways. Preferably, the implants 10 are implanted using catheter- based technology via a peripheral venous access site, such as in the femoral or jugular vein (via the IVC or SVC) under image guidance, or trans-arterial retrograde approaches to the left atrium through the aorta from the femoral artery also under image guidance. As previously described, the implants 10 comprise independent components that are assembled within the body to form an implant, and delivered and assembled from an exterior the body through interaction of multiple catheters. A. Conventional Delivery Approach

[0073] FIGS. 10A-12D show deployment of an implant 10 of tiie type shown in FIGS. 3 A- 3B by a percutaneous, catheter-based procedure, under image guidance using conventional methods into the femoral or jugular vein, or typically, a combination of both, such as any of those described in U.S. Patent Publication 2017/0055969.

[0074] Percutaneous vascular access is achieved by conventional methods into the femoral or jugular vein, or typically, a combination of both. As shown in FIG. 10A, under image guidance, a first catheter, or GCV catheter 40, is advanced into the great cardiac vein from a superior vena cava (SVC) route accessed from a neck vein (e.g. jugular vein) along a GCV guidewire 54. As shown in FIG. 10B, the LA catheter 60 is advanced from the right atrium via an inferior vena cava (JVC) accessed from a femoral vein, through the septum, t pically at or near the fossa ovalis, and into the left atrium The septal wall at the fossa ovalis is punctured with a trans-septal needle and a LA guide wire 74 is advanced through the septum into the left atrium Typically a large bore (12-16 French) hemostasis sheath with a "Mullins" shape is placed in the LA to act as a conduit for placement for subsequent devices to placed or removed from the LA without injuring the tissues along the pathway to or in the LA. The LA catheter 60 is then advanced into the left atrium athrough this sheath.. [0075] Each of catheters 40, 60 include a magnetic head 42, 62, respectively, disposed along a distal portion thereof, the magnetic heads being configured to facilitate magnetic coupling when positioned at a desired orientation and position across a tissue wall between the left atrium and the great cardiac vein. As shown in FIGS. 11 A-l IB, LA catheter 60 includes distal magnetic head having a N-S magnetic poles arranged axially along the catheter, while the GCV catheter 40 includes distal magnetic head having N-S magnetic poles arranged laterally relative a longitudinal axis of the catheter. This arrangement facilitate a transverse or perpendicular magnetic coupling between the respective catheters, as shown in FIGS. 1 lB-11C so as to allow passage of a penetrating element or guidewire, typically from a channel within one magnetic head into a corresponding channel of the other magnetic head. In this approach, the penetrating element is a puncturing guidewire 54 with a sharpened distal end. Typically, the puncturing guidewire 54 is advanced through a curved channel 43 within the magnetic head 42 of the GCV catheter 40 and enters a funnel-shaped channel 67 of magnetic head 62 of LA catheter 60. While in this embodiment, the magnetic head of GCV catheter 40 has a single magnet, it is appreciated that various other embodiments can include a magnetic head having additional magnets oriented to facilitate a desired alignment, for example, a three-magnet head in which a center magnet has magnetic poles oriented laterally to an axis of the catheter between two magnets with poles oriented axially, such as that shown in U.S. Patent Publication 2017/0055969. [0076] Next, as shown in FIG. 12 A, the penetrating guidewire is advanced through the LA catheter 60 until it exits the femoral artery access point at the groin. The left atrium magnetic catheter A is then replaced by a very long exchange catheter 28, which is carefully pushed across the puncture site along the great cardiac vein to interface with the great cardiac vein magnetic catheter 40. The exchange catheter 28 is pushed simultaneously with removing the great cardiac vein magnetic catheter 40 to avoid exposing the puncturing wire to tissue. Exposure of the puncturing wire during this process could easily slice through tissue should the wire move or become tensioned during removal or replacement of one of the catheters. This process typically requires two operators, one operator pushes the exchange catheter while the other operator simultaneously removes the great cardiac vein magnetic catheter, often while utilizing visualization techniques to ensure the two catheters remain interfaced and the puncturing wire remains covered. Once the exchange catheter 28 is placed from neck to groin, the puncturing wire is removed and replaced with a left atrial extension guidewire 74, as shown in FIG. 12B.

[0077] Next, extension guide wire 74 is gently retracted, causing the bridging element 12 to follow through the vasculature structure. If the optional exchange catheter 28 is used (as shown in FIGS. 12A-12B), the extension guide wire 74 retracts through the lumen of the exchange catheter 28 without injuring tissues. The extension guide wire 74 is completely removed from the body at the femoral vein, leaving the bridging element 12 extending from exterior the body (preferably at the femoral sheath), through the vasculature structure, and again exiting at the superior vena cava sheath. The extension guide wire 74 may then be removed from the bridging element 12 by cutting or detaching the bridging element 12 at or near the interface coupling 800 between the bridging element 12 and extension guide wire 74. The anterior end of the extension guidewire 74 is attached to one end of the bridging element (e.g. suture material) while the other end of the bridging element is attached to the posterior anchor, which is retained within a posterior anchor delivery catheter 115. As can be seen in FIG. 12B, the extension guide wire 74 is gently retracted, causing the bridging element 12 to follow into the exchange catheter 28 and through the vasculature structure.

[0078] Posterior anchor 120 disposed within deployment catheter 24 is connected to the trailing end of bridging element 12 extending from the superior vena cava While a T-shaped anchor is shown here, it is appreciated that various other types of posterior anchors can be used (e.g. stent, half-stent, etc.). The deployment catheter 24 is then positioned onto or over the GCV guide wire 54 and abutted against exchange catheter 28. The two-operator pushing and pulling process is repeated pushing H e posterior anchor delivery catheter 115 while simultaneously removing the exchange catheter 28 so as to position the posterior anchor within the great cardiac vein and the bridging element extends across the left atrium

Optionally, the bridging element 12 may be pulled from the femoral vein region, either individually, or in combination with the deployment catheter 24, to facilitate advancement of the posterior anchor 120 and bridging element into position in the great cardiac vein and across the left atrium The GCV guide wire 54 is then retracted letting the T-shaped anchor 120 separate from the GCV guide wire 54 and deployment catheter 24. Preferably under image guidance, and once separation is confirmed, the bridging element 12 is gently pulled to position the T-shaped anchor 120 in abutment against the venous tissue within the great cardiac vein and centered over the GCV access lumen 115. The deployment catheter 24 and exchange catheter 28 may then be removed. The T-shaped anchor 120 with attached bridging element 12 remain within the great cardiac vein. The length of bridging element 12 extends from the posterior T-shaped anchor 120, through the left atrium, through the fossa ovalis, through the vasculature, and preferably remains accessible exterior the body. The bridging element 12 is now ready for the next step of establishing the anterior anchor region 16, as previously described and as shown in FIGS. 16C-16D.

[0079] Once the posterior anchor region 14, bridging element 12, and anterior anchor region 16 configured as previously described, a tension is placed on the bridging element 12. The implant 10 and associated regions may be allowed to settle for a predetermined amount of time, e.g., five or more seconds. The mitral valve and mitral valve regurgitation are observed for desired therapeutic effects. The tension on the bridging element 12 may be adjusted until a desired result is achieved. The anchor 20 is then secured the bridging element 12 by use of a locking bridge stop 30 when the desired tension or measured length or degree of mitral regurgitation reduction is achieved.

B. Improved Methods of Delivery and Associated Catheter Systems

[0080] In one aspect, an improved anchor delivery catheter allows for delivery and deployment of the above-described implant with fewer catheters and improved ease of use as compared to the conventional approach described above. In some embodiments, the catheter systems includes an anchor delivery catheter having a distal magnet portion that facilitates access to a heart chamber from within an adjacent vasculature by passage of a penetrating guidewire to a magnetically couple catheters within the heart chamber. In some embodiments, the anchor delivery catheter is configured for delivery of the bridging element across the heart chamber (e.g. left atrium), once access is achieved, and subsequent deployment of the anchor within the vasculature (e.g. great cardiac vein). In some embodiments, the bridging element is attached to a trailing end of the penetrating guidewire while the other end is attached to the posterior anchor disposed on a distal portion of the delivery catheter. This allows the bridging element to be advanced through the penetration between the heart chamber and vasculature by continued advancement of the penetrating guidewire from one vascular access point (e.g. jugular vein) to exit the body at the second vascular access point (e.g. femoral vein).

[0081] In some embodiments, the above described anchor delivery is a GCV catheter 50 for delivery of the posterior anchor 18 within the GCV. Catheter 50 preferably includes a magnetic or ferromagnetic head 52 positioned along a distal portion of the catheter shaft Optionally, a hub can be positioned on the proximal end. The catheter shaft may include a proximal section that is generally stiff to allow for torquability of the shaft, which can be of a solid or braided construction. The proximal section includes a predetermined length (e.g., fifty centimeters or more), to allow positioning of the shaft within the vasculature structure. A distal section, along which the distal portion is defined, may be generally flexible to allow for steerability within the vasculature, e.g., within the chamber or vasculature of the heart. The distal section can also be of a predetermined length (e.g., ten centimeters or more) suitable for maneuvering within the heart. An inner diameter or lumen of the catheter shaft is preferably sized to allow passage of a GCV guide wire 15, and a penetrating guide wire as well as a bridging element. The GCV catheter 40 preferably includes a radio-opaque marker to facilitate adjusting the catheter under image guidance to align with the LA catheter 60. The magnetic or ferromagnetic head 52 is preferably polarized to magnetically attract or couple the distal end of the LA catheter 60, as described previously. Magnetic head 52 includes a guide channel formed therein to facilitate passage of the penetrating guidewire through the channel and into a corresponding channel in the magnetic head of the LA catheter 60.

[0082] Similar to the GCV catheter 40, the LA catheter 60 preferably includes a magnetic or ferromagnetic head 62 positioned on a distal end thereof. The catheter shaft may include a proximal and distal sections similar to those of catheter 50 described above. The proximal section may be generally stiff to allow for torquability of the shaft, and may be of a solid or braided construction. The distal section includes a predetermined length, e.g., ninety centimeters, to allow positioning of the shaft within the vasculature structure. The distal section may be generally flexible and anatomically shaped to allow for steerability through the fossa ovalis and into the left atrium. The distal section may also include a predetermined length, e.g., ten centimeters. An inner diameter or lumen of the catheter shaft is preferably sized to allow passage of an LA guide wire 74, and additionally may accept the penetrating guide wire 54 passed from the GCV and subsequently the bridging element 12 attached thereto. The LA catheter 60 may also include a radio-opaque marker 76 to facilitate adjusting the catheter 60 under image guidance to align with the GCV catheter 40. The magnetic or ferromagnetic head 62 of the LA catheter 60 is polarized to magnetically attract or couple the distal end of the GCV catheter, for example, as shown in FIGS. 11 A-l 1 C. It is appreciated that the magnetic forces in the head 62 may be reversed, as long as attracting magnetic poles in the LA catheter 60 and the GCV catheter 40 are aligned.

[0083] While a particular configuration of magnetic heads are described above, it is appreciated that various other magnetic head configurations could be used, for example of those any of these described in U.S. Patent Publication 2017/0055969. Detailed examples of such catheter configuration are described further in FIGS. 17-19.

1. Exemplary Implantation Methods

[0084] Access to the vascular system is commonly provided through the use of introducers known in the art. A 16F or less hemostasis introducer sheath (not shown), for example, may be first positioned in the superior vena cava (SVC), providing access for the GCV catheter 50. Alternatively, the introducer may be positioned in the subclavian vein. A second 14F or less introducer sheath (not shown and described above) may then be positioned in the right femoral vein, providing access for the LA catheter 60. Access at both the SVC and the right femoral vein, for example, also allows the implantation methods to utilize a loop guide wire. For instance, in a procedure to be described later, a loop guide wire is generated by advancing a LA guide wire through the vasculature until it exits the body and extends external the body at both the superior vena cava sheath and femoral sheath. The LA guide wire may follow an intravascular path that extends at least from the superior vena cava sheath through the interatrial septum into the left atrium and from the left atrium through atrial tissue and through a great cardiac vein to the femoral sheath.

[0085] FIGS. 14A-16D illustiate a memod of implantation utilizing a magnetic anchor delivery catheter in accordance with aspects of the invention. FIGS. 14A-14B depict positioning of the GCV anchor delivery catheter 50 within the great cardiac vein adjacent a posterior annulus of the mitral valve. First, as shown in FIG. 14A, under image guidance, the GCV guide wire 15 (e.g. a 0.035 inch guidewire) for example, is advanced into the coronary sinus to the great cardiac vein along an SVC approach. Optionally, an injection of contrast with an angiographic catheter may be made into the left main artery from the aorta and an image taken of the left coronary system to evaluate the position of vital coronary arterial structures. An injection of contrast may also be made in the great cardiac vein in order to provide an image and a measurement. If the great cardiac vein is too small, the great cardiac vein may be dilated with a 5 to 12 millimeter balloon, for example, to midway the posterior leaflet.

[0086] As shown in FIG. 14B, the GCV catheter 50 is advanced over the GCV guide wire 1 so that the distal magnetic head 52 and posterior anchor 18 are positioned at or near a desired location in the great cardiac vein, for example near the center of the posterior leaflet or posterior mitral valve annulus. The desired position for the GCV catheter 50 may also be viewed as approximately 2 to 6 centimeters from the anterior intraventricular vein takeoff. Once the GCV catheter 40 is positioned, an injection may be made to confirm sufficient blood flow around the GCV catheter 40. If blood flow is low or non-existent, the GCV catheter 50 may be pulled back into the coronary sinus until needed.

[0087] As shown in FIG. 14C, the LA catheter 60 is then deployed in the left atrium. From the femoral vein, under image guidance, the LA guide wire 16, a 0.035 inch guidewire for example, is advanced into the right atrium. A 7F Mullins dilator with a trans-septal needle (not shown) can be deployed into the right atrium An injection is made within the right atrium to locate the fossa ovalis on the septal wall. The septal wall at the fossa ovalis can be punctured with a trans-septal needle and the guide wire 16 is advanced into the left atrium. The trans-septal needle is then removed and the dilator is advanced into the left atrium. An injection is made to confirm position relative to the left ventricle. The Mullins system is removed and then replaced with a 12F or other appropriately sized Mullins system. The 12F Mullins system is positioned within the right atrium and extends a short distance into the left atrium and the LA catheter 60 is advanced into the left atrium. After advancement of the LA catheter 60 into the left atrium, a distal magnetic head 62 of the catheter is positioned in the region adjacent the great cardiac vein so as to magnetically couple with the magnetic head 52 of GCV magnetic catheter 50, for example as shown in FIGS. 11 A. The magnetic heads automatically align the lumens of the LA catheter 60 and GCV catheter 50. [0088] As shown in FIG. 14D, once magnetically coupled, puncturing guidewire 54 is advanced through GCV catheter SO to penetrate the tissue wall between the great cardiac vein and the left atrium and enters a lumen of the magnetic head 62 of LA catheter 60. The operator continues to advance the puncturing guidewire 54 through a lumen of the LA catheter 60 until the guidewire exits the body (e.g. at the groin). Since the trailing end of the puncturing guidewire is attached to the one end of the bridging element 12 (e.g. suture), the other end being attached to posterior anchor 18, once the puncturing guidewire 54 exits the proximal end of the LA catheter 60, the puncturing wire 54 can be pulled proximally from the LA catheter 60 thereby pulling the bridging element 12 through the GVC catheter 50, across the left atrium within the LA catheter 60 and through the vasculature to exit the body at the groin, all while the LA catheter 60 and the GVC catheter 50 remain magnetically coupled. This approach ensures the puncturing wire 54 and the bridging element 12 remain covered while the being drawn through the vasculature over the delicate tissues of the heart. This avoids cutting or slicing the tissue with the bridging element when pulled across the tissues and further avoids the laborious pushing and pulling procedure and use of an exchange catheter described in the conventional approach.

[0089] As shown in FIG. 15A, the bridging element 12 extends from the posterior anchor 18 disposed within the distal portion of the GCV catheter 50, spans the left atrium and extends through the LA catheter 60 and exits the body at the femoral vein. The operator can gently tug the bridging element 12 to remove any slack from the system and ensure it is properly positioned. In some embodiments, this action can also facilitate release of the posterior anchor 18 from the GCV delivery catheter 50. The LA catheter 60 can be decoupled from the GCV catheter 60 and withdrawn while the bridging element remains in place, as shown in FIG. 15B. Optionally, the LA catheter 60 can remain within the left atrium extending through the septum until the posterior anchor 18 is fully deployed.

[0090] As shown in FIG. 15C, the GCV catheter 50 is adjusted, if needed, to position the posterior anchor 18 along the penetration for subsequent release from the catheter. The posterior anchor 18 can be released from the GCV delivery catheter 50 by proximally retracting the GCV guidewire 15 extending through the posterior anchor 18. Optionally, the catheter configuration can include a tether, for example a tether loop secures the posterior anchor 18 to the distal portion of GCV catheter 50 and extends from the proximally end so that an operator can proximally pull the tether to release the posterior anchor 18. During the process, the GCV catheter 50 can be retracted slightly, particularly in embodiments where the posterior anchor 18 partly resides in a recessed portion of the magnetic head 52. In many cases of complete or partial removal of the GCV catheter, the guidewire is left inside the GCV anchor to allow for retrieval until very end of the procedure. While in this embodiment, the posterior anchor 18 is an elongate member, such as a T-bar anchor, it is appreciated that various other deployment steps could be used to facilitate deployment of other types of posterior anchors. For example, when the posterior anchor 18 is a scaffold or stent-like structure, any suitable means of deploying such structures could be used. For example, a constraining sheath partly disposed over a self-expanding scaffold can be retracted thereby releasing the scaffold from the magnetic head portion 52 or a balloon expandable scaffold, or otherwise releasable scaffold can be used. Once the posterior anchor 18 is deployed, the GCV catheter 50 and GCV guidewire can be removed, as shown in FIG. 15D.

[0091] As shown in FIG. 16A, the posterior anchor 18 deployed within the great cardiac vein is attached to the bridging element 12 spanning the left atrium and extending through the vasculature along the IVC route to exit from the femoral vein at the groin. Since the bridging element 12 is not tensioned, and its placement in the delivery sheath not shown, there is little likelihood of cutting or damage to tissues at this point. Next, as shown in FIG. 16B, an anterior anchor delivery catheter 26 is advanced along the bridging element 12 through its center hubs the delivery catheter 26 having a collapsed anterior anchor 30, collapsed inside the delivery sheath, disposed in a distal portion thereo The collapsed anterior anchor is guided to the FO or other suitable location along the septal wall and deployed, such as shown in FIG. 5B.

[0092] As shown in FIG. 16C, the anterior anchor 30 is deployed along the septal wall with a proximal locking bridge stop 20 through the delivery sheath. The length of the bridging element 12 can then be incrementally adjusted and held in place by the bridge lock 20 upon each adjustment until observation of the heart pumping indicates improved valve function. The excess bridging element 12 can then be cut with a cutting element of the catheter, or by use of a separate cutting catheter advanced along the bridging element 12. The LA delivery catheter 60 can then be removed, leaving the fully deployed implant 10 in place within the heart, as shown in FIG. 16D.

2. Exemplary Catheter Configurations

[0093] FIG. 17-19 show anchor delivery catheter configuration in accordance with aspects of the invention. In particular, the catheter configuration allows for magnetically coupling with a corresponding catheter to establish access within a heart chamber from adjacent vasculature and delivering a heart implant in accordance with aspect of the invention. These example delivery catheters are configured for use within a GCV catheter 50, within the example delivery and deployment methods depicted above. It is appreciated that the following catheter configurations can include any of the various aspect described herein (e.g. length, materials, dimensions, etc.), but are not limited to the aspects described herein and could be configured as needed for a particular use or anatomy.

[0094] FIG. 17 shows a distal portion of a delivery catheter configuration 700 that includes a guidewire lumen 701a extending longitudinally to facilitate advancement of the catheter along a guidewire 1 positioned in the vasculature of the patient (e.g. within the great cardiac vein when the catheter configuration is utilized in a GVC anchor delivery catheter). The catheter can further include a puncture wire lumen 701b dimensioned to allow passage of the puncture wire and subsequent passage of the bridging element 12 attached thereto. The catheter includes a magnetic head 702 configured to magnetically couple with a magnetic head 722 of a corresponding catheter 720 through a tissue wall therebetween. Magnetic head 702 is defined so that the magnetic poles of the magnetic head are disposed laterally relative a longitudinal axis of the catheter so as to couple in a perpendicular orientation with magnetic head 722 of magnetic catheter 720, in a similar fashion as in FIG. 11C. The magnetic head 702 further includes a guide channel 703 defined to steer puncturing guidewire 54 upward through an exit hole 704 on one side of the magnetic head 702 to direct the sharped distal tip 55 (e.g. flat tip) of the puncturing guidewire 54 through the tissue wall and into the magnetic head 722 of catheter 720. The magnetic head 722 is defined with a central channel that is funnel-shaped so as to direct the puncturing wire 52 into the central channel. The dashed vertical line in FIGS. 17-19 represents the point at which the delivery catheter extends outside the body. In any of these embodiments, the guidewire 1 and bridging element 12 and puncturing wire 54 can extend through a Y-arm connector to facilitate independent manual control of the guidewire 1 and the puncturing wire 54 bridging element 12. (The catheter shaft extending between the distal end portion and the Y-arm connector is not shown). In such embodiments, the length of the puncturing wire 54 is greater than the sum of both magnetic catheters and the length of bridging element 12 is longer than puncturing 54 wire to allow for switchback as described above. It is appreciated that while the delivery catheter configuration is shown in FIG. 17 extending from right to left, the end portion of the catheter would extend from left to right when viewed from a front of the patient, such as shown in FIG. 13.

[0095] Catheter 700 includes a catheter shaft 70S along its length, which can be formed of any suitable material, to facilitate advancement of the catheter through the vasculature. As shown, the magnetic head 702 is formed with a notch or contoured recess in one side, which in this embodiment is opposite the exit hole 704, although could be located in any suitable location in embodiments. The notch or recess is configured to allow passage of the guidewire 1 and/or to receive at least a portion of posterior anchor 718. In this embodiment, posterior anchor 718 is defined as an elongate member having a longitudinal lumen through which the guidewire 1 extends.

[0096] An outer jacket 706 covers the magnetic head 702 and includes an opening over exit hole 704 to allow passage of the penetrating guidewire 54 therethrough. Typically, the outer jacket 706 is formed for a flexible polymer material and is defined to form a smooth interface with the catheter shaft 70S. The outer jackets helps maintain the magnetic head 702 within the catheter and may extend at least partly over the posterior anchor 718 to help retain the posterior anchor 718 during advancement of the catheter through the vasculature. Optionally, a polymeric rounded tip 707 can be provided on a distal end of the jacket to facilitate advancement of the catheter through the vasculature.

[0097] FIG. 18 shows a distal portion of a delivery catheter configuration 800 that includes a guidewire lumen 801 extending longitudinally to facilitate advancement of the catheter along a guidewire 1 positioned in the vasculature of the patient, within the great cardiac vein when the catheter configuration is utilized in a GVC anchor delivery catheter. The catheter can further include a puncture wire lumen 801b dimensioned to allow passage of the puncture wire 54 and subsequent passage of the bridging element 12 attached thereto. The catheter includes a magnetic head 802, contained within inner jacket 803, that is configured to magnetically couple with a magnetic head of another catheter on an opposite side of a tissue wall, as described in other embodiments. The magnetic head includes a guide channel (not shown) to direct the puncture guidewire 54 through exit hole 84 on one side of the magnetic head and into a lumen of the other catheter when magnetically coupled. The inner jacket 803 includes an opening over the exit hole 804 to allow passage of the distal sharpened end 55 (e.g. fiat tip) of puncturing guidewire 54. As shown, the posterior anchor 818 is defined as an expandable scaffold. Here, the expandable scaffold is self-expanding and constrained into the configuration shown by a constraining sheath 806 (shown as transparent for improved visibility of underlying components). Proximal retraction of the constraining sheath 806 allows the expandable scaffold posterior anchor 818 to expand and release from the inner jacket 803. The bridging element 12 is attached to the proximal end of the puncturing guidewire 54 and extends back through the catheter, out through exit hole 804 outside of the inner jacket to a reinforcing rib 819 on the posterior anchor 818 such that once the bridging element 12 is passed through the exit hole and across the heart chamber and the posterior anchor 818 is deployed, catheter 800 can be withdrawn from within the deployed posterior anchor 818 and the implantation process can proceed with deployment of the anterior anchor, as described above. In some embodiments, deployment may further entail laterally collapsing the scaffold by pulling of bridging element 12.

[0098] FIG. 19 shows a distal portion of a delivery catheter configuration 900 that includes a guidewire lumen 901a extending longitudinally to facilitate advancement of the catheter along a guidewire 1 positioned in the vasculature of the patient, within the great cardiac vein when the catheter configuration is utilized in a GVC anchor delivery catheter. The catheter can further include a puncture wire lumen 901b dimensioned to allow passage of the puncture wire 54 and subsequent passage of the bridging element 12 attached thereto. The catheter includes a magnetic head 902 (not shown) contained within an outer jacket 906, the magnetic head being configured to magnetically couple with a magnetic head of another catheter, as described above. The magnetic head includes a guide channel (not shown) to direct the puncture guidewire 54 through an exit hole 904 and into a lumen of the other catheter when magnetically coupled. The outer jacket 903 includes an opening over the exit hole 804 to allow passage of the distal sharpened end 55 of puncturing guidewire 54 through exit hole 904. As shown, the posterior anchor 918 is defined as a non-expandable scaffold. The scaffold can be secured in place by a suture or tether 903 that extends inside a lumen of the catheter to its proximal end, such that removal of the tether releases the scaffold. Release can be further facilitated by gently tugging the bridging element 12 advanced through the other magnetically coupled catheter. Catheter 900 can then be retracted and the implantation process can proceed with deployment of the anterior anchor, as described above. In some embodiments, deployment may further entail laterally collapsing the scaffold by pulling of the bridging element 12.

[0099] FIG. 20 depicts an example method of delivery and deploying an implants with a catheter system in accordance with aspects of the invention. The method includes steps of: advancing a first catheter along a first vascular path to a vessel of the heart from a first vascular access point, the first catheter having a distal magnetic head adjacent a first anchor and advancing a second catheter along a second vascular path to a chamber of the heart from a second vascular access point, the second catheter having a distal magnetic head. Next, the first and second catheter are positioned so as to magnetically couple the distal magnetic heads across a tissue wall between the chamber and vessel of the heart. Next, penetrating the tissue wall by advancing a puncturing guidewire from the first catheter into the second catheter while magnetically coupled. Advancing the puncturing guidewire to exit from the second vascular access point and pulling the guidewire until an attached bridging element coupled to the first anchor is pulled across the heart chamber and exits at the second vascular access point while first and second catheters are magnetically coupled. The first anchor is then deployed from the first catheter and the first catheter removed. Next, one or more additional anchors can be attached to one or more other portions of the bridging element extending across the heart chamber or through associated vasculature as needed for deployment of a particular type of implant.

[0100] In some embodiments, it may be desired to displace or remove the implant after deployment removing any tension and obstruction, allowing access the mitral valve and surrounding tissue. For example, in a few patients, the implant may prove ineffective or another type of implant or procedure may need to be effected (e.g. intravascular valve replacement). Therefore, it would be desirable for a method and devices that allow for subsequent removal of the implant Removal, at least partial removal, can be effected by cutting of the bridging element. The posterior anchor can be removed by use of conventional catheter techniques, or in some embodiments, can be left in place within the great cardiac vein. The septal anchor typically does not present any concern and can be left in place. Examples of such devices for cutting the bridge element of the implant are shown in FIGS. 21A-23B.

[0101] FIGS. 21 A-21C shows a bridge cutting catheter 210 to facilitate removal of a deployed implant, such as any of those described herein, in accordance with aspects of the invention. Bridge cutting catheter 210 includes a curve tipped stylette 211 within an inside diameter of the catheter shaft to facilitate steering of the cutting tip to suture bridge 12. The cutting tip includes a cutting blade 212 and a capture feature 213. The cutting blade 212 includes a sharpened cutting edge along one longitudinally extending side and an angled proximal facing end surface. The capture feature 21 is a loop that is angled so as to capture the bridging element 12 and direct the bridging element to the cutting edge when the cutting catheter is proximally retracted. Since the bridging element 12 is tensioned within the deployed implant, this approach is advantageous in capturing and cutting the bridging element 12 with limited visualization. Further the shape of the loop prevents the delicate tissues of the heart from contacting the cutting edge during the procedure. In some embodiments, the cutting catheter is advanced inside a sheath. For example, the cutting catheter can be advanced inside an 8-1 OF Mullins sheath that has been placed into the LA crossing the septal wall near the outer perimeter of the anterior anchor after a conventional percutaneous septodomy procedure. Some anterior anchor types will allow the delivery catheter to pass through them because of flexible or soft subcomponents or preconstructed fenestrations.

[0102] After the cutting tip is advanced from the Mullins catheter, as shown in FIG. 21 A, the bridge cutting catheter 210 is positioned beyond the tensioned bridging element 12 of the deployed implant and proximally retracted so as to capture the bridging element 12 with the capture loop. As shown in FIG. 21B, once the bridging element is capture, further retraction of the bridge cutting catheter forces the bridging element upwards along the angled proximal- facing end surface of the blade and along the cutting edge, thereby cutting the bridging element, as shown in FIG. 21C.

[0103] While the presence of the cut bridging element 12 is often not of concern, there may be instances where it is desired to substantially remove any remaining bridging element 12, for example to prevent flailing suture from entering the valve annul us and potentially interfering with placement of a valve replacement. In such instances, it may be desirable to use a tool that allow for cutting and removal of a substantial portion, or at least a majority, of the bridging element.

[0104] FIG. 22 shows a bridging cutting catheter with suture grip 220 for cutting the bridging element and removing excess suture after cutting, in accordance with aspects of the invention. Similar to the bridge cutting catheter in FIGS. 21 A-21C, the catheter includes a cutting head with a cutting blade 222 and a capture loop 223 that are configured and operate in a similar manner as described above. This catheter further includes a suture grip 224 to facilitate removal of excess suture. The catheter includes a steerable shaft 221 that allow the cutting tip to be steered to the bridge. In this embodiment, the shaft is a double shaft one shaft supporting the cutting tip while the other shaft supports a suture grip 224 that holds the bridging element during initial cutting, then operates to wind up excess suture grip, while maintaining the bridging element to allow subsequent cutting and removal of a majority of the bridging element. The suture grip 224 can be configured to hold the bridging element (e.g. by friction fit, or between opposable members) and to wind up excess bridging element by rotation of an element extending through a shaft of the catheter.

[0105] As shown in FIG. 23A, cutting catheter 220 is positioned adjacent the anterior anchor (not shown) and locking bridge stop 30 and positioned to capture tensioned bridging element 12 with capture loop 223 and hold the bridging element with the suture grip 224 (positioned further from the anterior anchor than the cutting blade 222). After initial cutting of the bridging element 12 with the cutting element, as described above, the suture grip 224 is actuated by rotation of a rotatable member extending through the shaft. This winds up excess suture and also moves the cutting catheter adjacent the posterior anchor. As the suture grip 224 holds the excess suture taut, a second cut can be made with cutting tip, similar to that previously described, thereby removing a majority of the bridging element. The excess suture is retained on the suture grip and removed upon removal of the cutting catheter.

[0106] The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.