Mitral Valve Surgery

University of Maryland Specializes in Mitral Valve Repair with Clear Patient Advantages 

At the University of Maryland Heart Center, we specialize in the surgical treatment of valvular disease, including mitral valve repair and replacement surgery. Mitral valve repair is used to treat regurgitation (leakage) or stenosis (narrowing) of the mitral valve. Traditionally, surgeons have treated mitral valve disease by removing the diseased valve and implanting an artificial valve, known as valve replacement.

Now, cardiac surgeons at the University of Maryland Heart Center are leaders in repairing the mitral valve. About 92 percent of patients at the Heart Center will have their valve repaired instead of replaced. That's well above the national average, where typically 55 percent of patients have their valve repaired.

The many advantages of this approach include improved long-term survival rates and reduced risk of stroke, and freedom from long-term treatment with blood thinners.

In addition, Heart Center surgeons are routinely perform videoscopic minimally invasive mitral valve repair surgery. Performed through a two-inch keyhole incision on the side of the chest, this approach avoids an incision in the breastbone and allows patients to return to work and everyday activity sooner after surgery.

What is the Mitral Valve?

The mitral valve (named after a Bishop's miter) is the "inflow valve" for the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle. Blood flows from the lungs, where it picks up oxygen, across the open mitral valve and into the left ventricle. When the heart squeezes, the two leaflets of the mitral valve snap shut and prevent blood from backing up to the lungs. Blood is directed out of the heart to the rest of the body through another valve, the aortic valve.

What are the Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair?

Clear advantages of mitral valve repair versus replacement include:

  • A lower mortality at the time of operation (1-2% for repair versus 6-8% for replacement).
  • A significantly lower risk of stroke, and a lower rate of infection.
  • Improved long-term survival with mitral valve repair.
  • Patients who receive a valve repair stay on the same survival curve as the normal population.
  • After mitral valve repair, blood thinners are not required, in contrast to the life-long requirement for blood thinners after mechanical mitral valve replacement.
  • Mitral valve repairs are very durable. Studies have shown that 95 percent of patients will have a perfectly working valve 20 years after mitral valve repair surgery.

To find out if you're a candidate for mitral valve repair and/or minimally invasive mitral valve repair surgery, please call 410-328-5842 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

This page was last updated: March 18, 2014

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