I am
a patient
a visitor
a medical professional
a job seeker
an employee
who wants to

Saint Thomas Heart

Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

Mitral valve repair surgery is performed when there is a problem with the mitral valve that ensures the blood keeps moving between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Surgery may be needed on this valve if it is hardened or calcified, or if the valve is too loose, allowing blood to flow backward. Compared with mitral 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.

Increasingly, due to technological advances, patients are able to have a minimally invasive surgical approach to mitral valve repair instead of open heart surgery. Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery is performed through several small incisions. Another type of operation, open mitral valve surgery, requires a larger incision.

There are multiple minimally invasive approaches to mitral valve repair surgery, including the following:

  • A small incision in the right part of the chest, allowing access to the heart. Then, a small cut is made in the heart’s left side to repair the valve.
  • In endoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes between one and four small holes in the chest, allowing the surgery to be performed through the cuts using a camera and special surgical tools.
  • With robotically assisted valve surgery, the surgeon makes between two and four tiny incisions in the chest, each about 1/2 to 3/4 inches each. Using a special computer to control robotic arms during the surgery, a 3D view of the heart and mitral valve are displayed on a computer, allowing the surgeon to have a clear and detailed field in which to work.
  • Sometimes, the repair can be performed through a groin artery with chest incisions. The doctor sends a catheter (flexible tube) with a balloon attached on the end. The balloon inflates to stretch the opening of the valve. This procedure is called percutaneous valvuloplasty and is performed for a blocked mitral valve
  • Yet another new procedure involves placing a catheter though an artery in the groin and clipping the valve to prevent the valve from leaking.