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Mitral valve surgery, sometimes referred to as mitral valve repair, is intended to repair or replace the valve where blood flows from the lungs into the heart. This minimally invasive heart surgery replaces the traditional approach of splitting of the breast bone and offers less trauma to your body and a shorter recovery time.
Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery: Our Approach
Our expert surgeons often use minimally invasive mitral valve surgery instead of traditional heart surgery to avoid going through the bone and altering the structure of the chest wall.
This surgery is performed through a small incision placed in the upper front part of the right chest wall using specialized surgical instruments. The incision allows direct access to the heart through the ribs without the need to open up the chest wall.
The benefits to this approach include:
- Less blood loss – Because we are not opening up the chest, there is less blood that comes out of the chest causing less trauma to the body.
- Fewer transfusions – This procedure results in fewer blood transfusions than traditional heart surgery.
- Shorter hospital stays - National studies have shown that patients stay in the hospital for less time after minimally invasive surgery.
- Faster return to your normal life – Because this approach does not involve cutting the ribs or the breast bone, there are no restrictions after surgery other than avoiding strenuous use of the upper body for several weeks to allow the incision to heal.
Talk to your doctor if you think you are a candidate for minimally invasive mitral valve surgery.
If you have the following conditions, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive mitral valve heart surgery.
- Mitral Valve Regurgitation - Mitral valve regurgitation means that one of the valves in your heart—the mitral valve—is letting blood leak backward into the heart.
- Mitral Valve Prolapse - Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) is when the mitral valve bulges backward after blood flows through.
- Myxomatous Degeneration - Sometimes referred to as myxomatous disease, is where the mitral valves are weakened.
Preparing for Your Heart Valve Surgery
We want to ensure that your surgery goes as smoothly as possible. To prepare for your surgery be sure to talk to your care team, which can include your primary care doctor, cardiologist and/or heart surgeon, and ask them any questions you may have.
Visit Preparing for Your Surgery to learn more about preparing for a surgical procedure at the UVM Medical Center.
Heart Surgery: How We Compare
Our heart surgeons and cardiologists provide some of the highest quality care available using the latest technology and research to direct their treatment. Visit Heart Surgery Quality Reports to find out the latest clinical data.
Related Treatments or Tests
If you are a candidate for mitral valve surgery, some tests may be needed to check your heart. Tests may include:
- Echocardiograms, which use ultrasound to see how serious the valve problem is.
- An electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) to look for abnormal heart rhythms.
- A chest X-ray to check heart size.
- Cardiac catheterization to see how serious the problem is.