What is mitral valve repair?

Mitral valve repair surgery or mitral valve replacement surgery are types of procedures used to treat mitral valve disease such as mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis.

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.

A mitral valve repair may be performed through open-heart surgery or minimally invasive techniques.

How is a mitral valve repair done?

Your Mercy Health cardiac team will determine how the mitral valve should be repaired. Patients with isolated mitral valve disease may be candidates for minimally-invasive mitral valve repair, but 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 during a mitral valve repair surgery

Mitral valve repair surgery may be performed when you have any of the following mitral valve issues:

  • Hole in the mitral valve
  • Mitral valve leaflets that are not connected correctly
  • Excess mitral valve tissue where the leaflets can’t close tightly
  • Fused mitral valve leaflets

Your surgeon could repair the mitral valve through minimally invasive techniques or through open heart surgery. 

During open-heart mitral valve repair, your surgeon will make a large incision in your chest and must put you on a heart-lung machine to keep your heart beating during the procedure. 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. 

During the repair surgery, your surgeon may perform an annuloplasty  to tighten the ring around the valve. 

If the mitral valve opening is narrowed, your doctor may perform a balloon valvuloplasty. During this procedure, your cardiothoracic surgeon will insert a catheter with a balloon on the tip into an artery in the arm or groin and guide it toward the mitral valve. Once in position, your doctor will inflate the balloon to expand the opening of the mitral valve.

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

Risks of minimally-invasive mitral valve repair

 Complications associated with mitral valve repair include:

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

Recovery from minimally-invasive mitral valve repair

After mitral valve surgery, you will need to stay overnight in the ICU while Mercy Health cardiac specialists monitor you. Your care team will evaluate your vital signs and valve function before discharging you from the hospital.

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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