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Inspiring Health

a partnership between Franciscan Health and CBS4 Indy

Inspiring Health

Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery

Mitral Valve Repair Surgery Offers Improved and Longer Life

The cardiovascular surgeons at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis are pioneers in mitral valve repar, treating the most complex cases, using the latest devices and participating in landmark research. As a result, nearly all leaking mitral valves are repaired rather than replaced. High volume and a repair rate of nearly 98 percent for degenerative mitral valve disease provides patients with ideal outcomes.

Repair Better than Replacement

Mitral valve repair is the best option for nearly all patients with a leaking 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). 

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 minimally invasive mitral valve repairs through a single, small incision beneath the right breast. 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, their age and medical history.

  • Mitral Valve Repair and Atrial FibrillationMany patients with mitral valve disease have atrial fibrillation, (an abnormal heart rhythm.) For these patients, at the time of minimally invasive mitral valve repair, Franciscan surgeons perform a Maze procedure with the intent of curing the atrial fibrillation. Franciscan surgeons have one of the largest experiences with this procedure and have taught the technique to hundreds of surgeons. 
  • 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 New 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 perform the mitral surgery through a small incision.
  • 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 reconstruct even these most difficult to repair mitral valves.
  • 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.

Why Choose Franciscan Health Heart Valve Center?

Franciscan Health Heart Valve Center in Indianapolis established the first dedicated multidisciplinary center for evaluation and treatment of heart valve disease in Indiana. Our team of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons have focused their careers on theart valve disease and can offer patients with complex heart conditions new hope that is not available at most hospitals.

With more than 20 years of experience in heart valve surgery, Franciscan Heart Valve Center is a recognized leader in the full spectrum of valve disease with superior patient outcomes. Our Heart Valve Center has received recognition as a leading innovator in mitral valve repair, minimally invasive valve surgery and next generation valve technology. Being a high-volume valve surgery center enables our team to demonstrate skill and performance achieved in few programs.

A Commitment to World-Class Care

Our heart valve center team treats the most complex cases, pioneers groundbreaking techniques and participates in landmark research to provide patients access to next-generation devices and techniques. Skill to reconstruct repair rather than replace valves for mitral valve disease distinguishes our team. Valves that might otherwise be replaced, are repaired and restored to normal function. In fact, patients who had undergone attempted repair at other hospitals in years past have been successfully re-repaired.

With a renowned Heart Valve Center and innovative care, Franciscan Health in Indianapolis rapidly has  become the center of choice for patients referred from other institutions and physicians. 

Our Heart Valve Team

Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Patient Care

In one visit, a patient is examined by a cardiologist and a cardiovascular surgeon, a diagnostic echocardiogram is performed and results are reviewed by the physicians and discussed with the patient. An individualized treatment plan is then developed. Our collaborative approach offers patients thorough evaluations, advanced imaging, clear communication about the most effective treatments and surgical excellence. 

Our Heart Valve Team:

One Call Coordinates Care

Franciscan Health Heart Valve Center is committed to your individualized care. All of your needs – from diagnosis to treatment and recovery – are evaluated and discussed with you in one day and at one location by a team of cardiologists and heart surgeons.

Our Indianapolis heart valve team has focused their careers on advancing the treatment of heart valve disease and participates in the very latest clinical trials and research. The Heart Valve Center’s collaborative medical team provides patients with optimal care, including:

  • Complete medical evaluation to fully understand a patient’s valve condition
  • Determining if a heart valve is repairable or needs replacement
  • Identifying the right time to repair or replace a valve for a patient
  • State-of-the-art diagnostics
  • Valve disease education
  • Personalized care plan
  • Timely updates to your primary care physician

Schedule an appointment or second opinion with our Indianapolis valve team; then you’ll know your heart is in the right place. Call 1-877-78-VALVE today.

Treatment frees Mary from severe asthma symptoms

Imagine a world where you cannot attend your grandchildren’s ball games. Or imagine dreading to go shopping because your struggle to breathe leaves you constantly exhausted. That’s where Mary Dorgan, a 61-year-old lifelong asthmatic, found herself in 2010 after a work-related encounter with Freon landed her in the hospital for a week. At that time she had reached the maximum dosage of asthma medication prescribable and felt as though she was running out of options to regain control of her life.

“In my early twenties, I felt my asthma plateaued for a while – and as I aged I fell under the false assumption I had it under control; but, actually, it had me under control.”

Feeling as if she were all out of options, Dorgan scheduled an appointment with Faisal Khan, MD, a pulmonologist with Franciscan Health Indianapolis, who suggested bronchial thermoplasty, a new treatment for adults who suffer from severe asthma.

Bronchial thermoplasty is unique because for the first time severe asthma can be treated in a physical way, attacking the problem at its source – the lungs,” said Dr. Khan “As in Mary’s case, currently patients with severe, persistent asthma are treated using high doses of medication and many still continue to suffer from frequent asthma attacks.”

People with severe asthma have an excess of smooth muscle tissue lining their lungs’ airways. During an asthma attack, this muscle constricts, making it extremely hard to breathe. Bronchial thermoplasty reduces the amount of excess muscle and helps minimize the narrowing of airways during an asthma attack. Bronchial thermoplasty is an outpatient bronchoscopy procedure that uses mild heat to reduce the amount of excessive smooth muscle in the airways. It is performed in three separate appointments, scheduled three weeks apart. Each session lasts about an hour and focuses on a different part of the lungs. Bronchial thermoplasty does not replace medications; rather, it works with them to reduce the severity and even chances of an asthma attack.

After completing her treatments, Dorgan has never felt better. She is yet to have another severe asthma attack, she said, and she has been able to reduce the number of prescription medications she takes. “I was actually able to take my eldest granddaughter to find a homecoming dress. I only had to sit down once,” she said, smiling, “since my granddaughter is still a bit more energetic than me. But being able to watch her try on and pick out dresses was special, and now that’s a memory we can share.”

This procedure is not for everyone with asthma, said Dr. Khan. An evaluation from a pulmonologist can determine whether you’re a candidate. But if you’ve reached the limit on your medications, Mary Dorgan would certainly urge you to speak with your doctor.

“Bronchial thermoplasty can be life-changing for patients, dramatically improving their quality of life,” said Dr. Khan. “It can help reduce the frequency of asthma attacks, emergency room visits and hospitalizations and days missed from work due to symptoms of asthma.”

Call to learn more about Bronchial Thermoplasty and talk to a nurse navigator at 317-528-PULM or email

Contact the Franciscan Health Heart Valve Center

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