What is minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

Minimally-invasive mitral valve repair surgery is an alternative approach to traditional open heart surgery that is used to repair the mitral valve. The mitral valve sits between the left ventricle (bottom chamber) and left atrium (upper chamber) of the heart. The mitral valve ensures blood moves to the heart correctly.

Uses for mitral valve surgery

  • Your mitral valve is calcified 
    When your mitral valve is calcified (hardened), blood is unable to move through the valve.
  • Your mitral valve is loose
    When your mitral valve is too loose, blood can flow backward. 

During traditional mitral valve repair surgery, a 6- to 8-inch incision is made down the sternum through the bone and muscle. It is a complicated procedure with a long recovery time. 

Who is a candidate for minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

Your Mercy Health cardiac team will determine if you are a candidate for minimally-invasive mitral valve surgery. Although patients with isolated mitral valve disease are candidates for minimally-invasive mitral valve repair, some patients will require open heart surgery. Patients who are not candidates for minimally-invasive mitral valve repair include:

  • Patients who need other cardiac procedures at the same time as a mitral valve repair (such as coronary artery bypass surgery)
  • Patients who have severe artery disease
  • Patients with severe heart failure

What to expect with minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery requires a small incision (2 to 4 inches) in the right side of the chest and has a faster recovery time. 

Mercy Health cardiac specialists have vast experience performing the following minimally-invasive mitral valve repair procedures:

  • Mitral valve repair via a right mini-thoracotomy
  • Mitral valve repair via a partial upper sternotomy
  • Robotically-assisted mitral valve repair

Your cardiac provider team will evaluate your case and determine the most appropriate care for you.

What are benefits of minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

There are a variety of benefits of having minimally-invasive mitral valve repair over open heart surgery including:

  • Less pain
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less risk of infection
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to day-to-day activities
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less scarring 

What are risks of minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

Although complications associated with minimally-invasive mitral valve repair are less severe than risks associated with open heart surgery, it is a risky procedure. Risks include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Infection
  • Arrhythmias
  • Kidney failure
  • Damage to organs, nerves and bones

Recovery from minimally-invasive mitral valve repair?

After minimally-invasive valve surgery, you will need to stay overnight in the ICU while Mercy Health cardiac specialists monitor you. Most patients are moved to a regular hospital bed within a day and go home within three days of surgery.

After discharge, your doctor will likely recommend blood thinners to decrease your risk of stroke. He or she will also recommend lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising
  • Quitting smoking 

Please inform your doctor of any other invasive medical procedure before it is performed. You may need antibiotics to prevent infection.

After six weeks, you will have a follow-up appointment with your cardiac team to evaluate if you need any further monitoring or care.

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