Mitral Valve Repair
Mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement are procedures that may be performed to treat diseases of the mitral valve — the valve located between the left heart chambers (left atrium and left ventricle).
Several types of mitral valve disease exist. In mitral valve regurgitation, the flaps (leaflets) of the mitral valve don't close tightly, causing blood to leak backward into the left atrium. This commonly occurs due to valve leaflets bulging back — a condition called mitral valve prolapse.
In another condition, called mitral valve stenosis, the leaflets become thick or stiff, and they may fuse together. This results in a narrowed valve opening and reduced blood flow through the valve.
Treatment for mitral valve disease depends on the severity of your condition. Doctors may recommend surgery to repair or replace mitral valves for some people with mitral valve disease. Several surgical procedures exist to repair or replace mitral valves, including open-heart surgery or minimally invasive heart surgery.
Mitral valve repair can involve risks including:
- Blood clots
- Valve dysfunction in replacement valves
- Heart rhythm problems
Why it's done
Mitral valve disease treatment depends on how severe your condition is, if you're experiencing signs and symptoms, and if your condition is getting worse.
Your doctor and treatment team may evaluate you to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. In an evaluation, your doctor may conduct a physical examination, review your medical history and perform tests.
Your doctor may first suggest monitoring your condition with regular evaluations if you're not experiencing symptoms or your condition is mild. You may be prescribed medications to manage symptoms. If your condition is mild, you may not need surgery.
However, your mitral valve may eventually need to be repaired or replaced. In some cases, doctors may recommend mitral valve repair or mitral valve replacement even if you're not experiencing symptoms. Research has found that performing surgery in a person with severe mitral valve regurgitation who isn't experiencing symptoms, rather than monitoring the condition, can improve long-term outcomes.
If you need heart surgery for another condition in addition to mitral valve disease, doctors may conduct surgery to treat both conditions at the same time.