What Is a Surgical Mitral Valve Repair Procedure?

The traditional way of repairing a mitral valve is with open chest surgery.  It is a preferred option rather than replacement as the patient’s own valve is preserved.  However, not all mitral valves are suitable to repair and so in some circumstances, replacement is the only option.

The patient is placed under general anaesthesia and the chest opened down the middle of the breast bone (sternum).  This gives excellent access to the heart and the bone heals well afterwards.  There other key-hole surgical approaches that might be suitable in certain circumstances.

The blood leaving the heart is diverted to a heart-lung machine and returned to the body full of oxygen to completely replace the heart function.  The heart is then cooled and stopped to give perfect surgical conditions.  The valve is then repaired using advanced surgical techniques to remove redundant valve leaflet and repair or replace diseased chordae.  Once that is complete the heart is warmed and restarted before returning to normal circulation and closing the chest.

The patient is then taken to the intensive care unit where they usually remain for just one day.  Surgical drains and wires are removed over the next couple of days and the patient would usually leave the hospital at one week. Some patients benefit from a brief stay at inpatient rehabilitation afterwards.

Surgical Mitral Valve Repari is sometimes combined with other surgery such as the replacement of additional valves or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABGS) if needed.

Dr McGaw works closely with a team of excellent Cardiac Surgeons who have expertise in Mitral Valve surgery.

In certain circumstances, the valve may be suitable for a non-surgical option by repair with a MitraClip Procedure. Dr McGaw has expertise in this procedure.