Mitral Valve Repair Surgery Gives Improved and Longer Life
The cardiovascular surgeons at Franciscan Health are pioneers in mitral valve repair and in treating the most complex cases, using the latest devices and participating in landmark research. Our Indianapolis hospital was the first in the world to use groundbreaking technology allowing patients to repair and re-grow healthy heart tissue. As a consequence, nearly all leaking mitral valves are repaired rather than replaced. A repair rate of nearly 98 percent for patients with leaking mitral valves provides patients with ideal outcomes.
Franciscan Health surgeons strongly advocate valve repair over valve replacement. Valve repair surgery preserves your own heart valve, avoiding the long-term issues related to valve replacement.
Why repair is better than replacement
Mitral valve repair is the best option for nearly all patients with a leaking mitral valve and for many with a narrowed (stenotic) mitral valve. Compared to valve replacement, mitral valve repair provides better long-term survival, better preservation of heart function, lower risk of complications, and usually eliminates the need for long-term use of blood thinners (anticoagulants). For these reasons, our surgeons are committed to mitral valve repair, when possible.
Advantages of mitral valve repair
- Better early and late survival (longer life)
- Improved lifestyle
- Better preservation of heart function
- Lower risk of stroke and infection (endocarditis)
- No need for blood thinners (anticoagulation)
Minimally invasive mitral valve repair
Franciscan Health heart valve surgeons perform all mitral valve repairs through a two to three inch incision on the right side of the chest. In many cases, we can employ the surgical robot and limit the incision size to only one inch.
A minimally invasive approach through the center of the chest is available for selected patients whose anatomy is best addressed through this incision. Minimally invasive approaches may also be used for patients who require aortic valve or tricuspid valve surgery, alone or in combination with mitral valve surgery.
Advantages of minimally invasive approaches include:
- Faster recovery
- Less pain
- Reduced need for blood transfusion
- Better cosmetic result
We evaluate each patient for minimally invasive surgery and work with the patient to choose the best and safest approach.
Mitral Valve Repair and Other Conditions
The decision to prescribe medical treatment or proceed with surgical repair or replacement is based on the patient’s type of heart valve disease, the severity of damage, the age and medical history.
- Mitral Valve Repair and Atrial Fibrillation: Many patients with mitral valve disease have atrial fibrillation, (an abnormal heart rhythm.) For these patients, at the time of robotic or minimally invasive mitral valve repair, Franciscan surgeons perform an ablation (Maze procedure) with the intent of curing the atrial fibrillation.
- Previous Mitral Valve Repair with Recurrent Mitral Regurgitation: There are instances when mitral valve repair may fail over time. While most surgeons replace such valves, Franciscan surgeons can frequently re-repair these valves, offering excellent long-term durability and the important advantages that go with mitral valve repair.
- Previous Heart Surgery with Recurrent Mitral Regurgitation: Occasionally, a patient who has had previous bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery or other heart surgery develops a new problem with the mitral valve. In these re-operative settings, Franciscan surgeons can safely and effectively repair nearly all leaking mitral valves.
- Mitral Valve Repair for Endocarditis: When infection damages a mitral valve (endocarditis), repair is particularly challenging. Because of their extensive experience with such patients, Franciscan surgeons successfully repair the mitral valve in the majority of patients who have had endocarditis.
- Mitral Calcification: Occasionally, a patient with mitral regurgitation has extensive calcium deposits on the valve leaflets or annulus. The calcium makes repair difficult and requires application of advanced surgical techniques and sound judgment. Franciscan surgeons have the expertise to ensure excellent outcomes in patients with calcified mitral valves.