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Mitral Valve Surgery

The mitral valve separates the two chambers (atrium and ventricle) on the left side of the heart and keeps blood moving in the correct direction. If the valve does not close properly, blood may leak back from the ventricle into the atrium (known as regurgitation or insufficiency), which reduces the efficiency of the heart as a pump. If the valve is narrowed or rigid (known as stenosis)—for instance, due to calcium deposits or scarring—blood flow is obstructed and the heart must again work harder to pump blood through. Either condition, if severe, may eventually lead to heart failure, stroke, or heart attack.

The goal of mitral valve surgery is to repair valve tissue or connecting structures so that the valve can open properly and seal tightly. For example, in some mitral valve repairs, your heart surgeon may separate fused leaflets, create better openings, or remove calcium or other obstructions. In others—for instance, to treat a weak and bulging (prolapsed) valve—your surgeon may trim valve leaflets and insert an annuloplasty device to reshape and strengthen the floppy mitral valve. If the valve is damaged beyond repair, it may be replaced with a new synthetic or donor-tissue valve. Many mitral valve procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques.

Mitral valve procedures offered at Temple include:

Annuloplasty

In annuloplasty, a surgeon sews a synthetic ring into the base of the mitral valve to provide additional support and help the valve to seal tightly. This is often done via minimally invasive approaches.

Alfieri Procedure

Often referred to as “edge-to-edge” mitral valve repair, this procedure creates a double outlet mitral valve for severe mitral valve regurgitation.

Commissurotomy

In this procedure, the surgeon widens the mitral valve opening by separating valve leaflets (cusps) that have thickened or are fused together.

Decalcification

Calcium deposits that accumulate over time on the mitral valve may eventually restrict the valve’s ability to open and close fully. Surgeons can remove the calcium deposits to reopen the valve or allow it to function more effectively.

MitraClip™ Repair

The MitraClip is a small device that acts like a clothespin to hold the leaflets of the mitral valve together, ensuring that the valve closes properly and reducwa leakiness. It is inserted via a catheter.

Mitral Balloon Valvuloplasty/Balloon Valvotomy

For mild mitral stenosis, a catheter can be guided into the heart and a balloon at its tip inflated to push open the valve.

Mitral Prolapse Repair

If the flaps (leaflets) of the mitral valve are weak or thickened, they may let blood flow backward. A surgeon can remove parts of the leaflets that overlap in order to create a tighter seal, and may also sew in an annuloplasty ring to support the base of the valve.

Mitral Valve Replacement

A severely diseased, narrowed or damaged mitral valve can sometimes be replaced with a new valve. Temple offers different options for valves, including mechanical and various types of tissue valves (from pig, cow, or human donor). A surgeon can explain the benefits and tradeoffs of each type of valve.

Why Temple?

Our heart surgeons and interventional cardiologists have extensive experience in performing minimally invasive mitral valve repair, which may reduce blood loss, scarring and recovery time and allow patients to undergo procedures who would not otherwise be eligible. They are equally experienced at open surgery and hybrid procedures that fix more than one heart problem through combined surgery. We can help advise patients of their options, and consult with specialists from across Temple to help provide the latest innovations in valve repair and replacement techniques.