Mitral Valve Repair
The cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Kettering Health are experts in mitral valve repair. Some patients who need mitral valve repair are eligible for minimally invasive procedures. Others require open-heart (traditional) surgery due to preexisting conditions such as lung or vascular disease.
Understanding the Mitral Valve
The mitral valve is one of four valves in the heart. It helps regulate blood flow from the upper left chamber of the heart (atrium) to the lower-left chamber (ventricle).
Damage can cause the valve to leak (mitral valve regurgitation or insufficiency). This reduces blood flow and makes the heart work harder.
Some people are born with an abnormal valve. Valve damage may also be caused by
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chest injury or trauma
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Heart valve infection (endocarditis)
- Intravenous drug use
Mitral valve stenosis (narrowing) is less common, occurring in about 10% to 20% of patients. A narrowed valve makes it harder for blood to flow between the atrium and ventricle. This can reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood and lead to shortness of breath.
Types of Mitral Valve Regurgitation
You may have one of two types of mitral valve regurgitation (insufficiency): chronic or acute.
1. Chronic mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the valve leaks slowly and worsens over time. In some cases, the heart can adapt to a slow leak, with only mild symptoms.
2. Acute regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve begins to leak suddenly. Symptoms develop quickly and can be severe. They may include the following:
- A faster than normal heartbeat (tachycardia)
- An irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in your neck, legs, or belly
Mitral Valve Treatments
Kettering Health surgeons pioneered mitral valve surgery in the Dayton area in the 1990s. Since then, we have performed tens of thousands of successful procedures.
Treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and any pre-existing conditions. Options include the following:
- Open-heart surgery: This is a traditional approach to opening narrowed valves, repairing torn valves or reshaping the valves for proper functioning.
- Transcatheter mitral valve repair: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which surgeons place a tiny clip on the valve to help it stop leaking.
Medications: This non-surgical option includes blood pressure medications, blood thinners, diuretics (water pills), or similar drugs