Key Points about Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair

  • Minimally invasive mitral valve repair includes a new set of approaches to repairing a damaged mitral valve, that tend to have shorter recovery times, fewer complications, and leave fewer visible scars.
  • Most people who need repair in a damaged mitral valve are eligible for this procedure.
  • Like many cardiac procedures, risks from minimally invasive mitral valve repair may include blood clotting, bleeding, infection, heart arrhythmia and stroke.
  • Ask your Bon Secours Mercy Health doctor about minimally invasive options for cardiac procedures.

Overview

A new set of minimally invasive approaches to repairing damaged mitral valves are growing in popularity. Unlike traditional methods of repairing the mitral valve, which involve cutting through the breastbone, minimally invasive repair methods require much smaller incisions, and leave the breastbone intact.

When a mitral valve is functioning correctly, it allows oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to enter the main pumping chamber of the heart, while preventing that blood from moving back to the lungs. When the valve becomes somehow damaged, blood begins to flow back in the direction of the lungs, requiring mitral valve repair or replacement.

Minimally invasive mitral valve repair is increasingly favored over standard open-chest repair methods due to the new procedures’ shorter recovery time, decreased pain and scarring, and lower risk of complications.

 

About minimally invasive mitral valve repair

Minimally invasive mitral valve repair is a treatment for mitral regurgitation or insufficiency. In this procedure, existing tissues from the mitral valve are reconstructed to restore proper function to the valve.

Minimally invasive mitral valve repair can be performed with a robotic device, or with other special instruments held by the surgeon.

Candidates for minimally invasive mitral valve repair

Most patients with a damaged mitral valve are eligible for minimally invasive mitral valve repair--particularly if mitral valve disease is the only cardiac issue present. Your will offer guidance as to which treatment option is best for you.

Expectations for minimally invasive mitral valve repair

About seven days before your scheduled procedure, your doctor will likely have you come in for tests such as blood work.

On the day of your procedure, you can expect to receive anesthesia from an experienced cardiothoracic anesthesiologist.

After the procedure, you will be sent to the ICU overnight, where your heart function will be monitored. You will then be transferred to a normal hospital room, where you will likely recover for two to three more days.

To lower your risk of stroke, your doctor will prescribe blood-thinning medications for three months following the procedure. Your doctor will also recommend maintaining a healthy diet, staying physically active and refraining from smoking tobacco, to promote recovery and heart health.

Before treatment, your doctor will provide you with a detailed outline of what to expect leading up to, during, and after your procedure.

Benefits of minimally invasive mitral valve repair

Benefits of minimally invasive mitral valve repair over traditional open-chest procedures may include:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Faster recovery time
  • Shorter stay in hospital
  • Decreased risk of complications, including atrial fibrillation and scarring
  • Decreased scarring
  • The ability to undergo multiple procedures at once

Risks of minimally invasive mitral valve repair

Undergoing any surgery comes with its risks. Possible risks from minimally invasive mitral valve repair may include:

  • Blood clotting
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Death

Recovery from minimally invasive mitral valve repair

After receiving this procedure, most patients recover in the hospital for three or four days. Patients can generally begin to participate in activities such as athletics and operating vehicles again after only one to two weeks--compared to six to eight weeks with traditional open-chest heart procedures.