CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About Your Mitral Valve Repair

What Is Mitral Valve Repair ?

The mitral valve sits between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. It allows blood to flow from the atria to the ventricle while preventing back flow. If there is a problem with this valve, it might leak (regurgitation) or become narrowed (stenosis). These can cause problems by putting undue strain on the heart muscle. To fix the valve, surgery is often needed.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Mitral valve repair is an open heart procedure. You will be put under an anesthetic and your chest opened. Then the doctor will divert your blood from your heart to an artificial heart-lung machine which will provide your body with oxygen during the procedure. The main artery leading out of the heart, the aorta, will be clamped and a drug will be given to completely stop your heart.

In order to determine what needs to be done to repair the valve, the surgeon will open the heart and examine the faulty valve. He could choose any of the following procedures: valvuloplasty, annuloplasty, or chordae tendinae repair.

If the cusps (leaflets) of the mitral valve are enlarged or fused together, the surgeon might choose to remove an enlarged section or do a commisurotomy which opens fused valve cusps. Both of these are considered valvuloplasty procedures.

Annuloplasty can be used on its own or with other types of repair to the valve. Encircling the mitral valve is fibrous collagen. If this becomes weak or misshapen, it can prevent the valve from properly closing. By strengthening this ring with an artificial one made of metal or surgical stitches, the valve can operate properly.

There are tiny strings called chordae tendinae which hold the mitral valve in place. Repair to these chordae tendinae might be needed if they become too slack by being overstretched or torn. The surgeon might replace, shorten, or transfer a healthy strand to the site.

After conducting the proper mitral valve repair, the surgeon will close your heart, remove the clamp on the aorta, and your heart will restart. Slowly, you will be taken off of the heart-lung machine until your heart and lungs are able to operate on their own.

For three to six months after your mitral valve repair, you will likely have to take medications to prevent blood clots. You also need to be cautious to notify your doctors and dentists that you have had mitral valve repair since you will be at an increased risk for getting an infection.

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