Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery: Valve Repair & Replacement

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Chest pain, dizziness, fainting – heart valve issues can make you worried about your future. Maybe you can't do what you could before without having symptoms. You're worried about a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest. But our heart experts can help. We can make a plan of action that's right for you. That might include minimally invasive heart surgery for valve replacement or repair.

Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Means Faster Recovery

Instead of open surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery can fix your:

  • Aortic valve (between your heart and aorta)
  • Mitral valve (between the top and bottom left heart chambers)
  • Tricuspid valve (between the top and bottom right heart chambers)

We're one of the few hospitals in the area doing these kinds of valve replacements and repairs.

Becker’s Hospital Review named UVA Health’s Heart & Vascular Center to its 2023 list of 100 hospitals and health systems with great heart programs. That means you're in good hands here. See other awards and recognition for our heart care.

Minimally Invasive Valve Replacement or Repair at UVA Health

In the past, you needed open surgery to repair or replace a heart valve. That means a big cut on your chest and opening up your ribs. You'll need to spend time recovering in the hospital.

But with minimally invasive surgery, you can get a valve replacement or repair through only a small cut (incision) on your chest. The cut is made on the right side of your chest. We go between your ribs with special tools to work on your heart.

Similar to traditional valve surgery, your surgeon replaces a damaged heart valve with a new valve.

Using small incisions without necessarily breaking the breast bone, your surgeon can reach your heart. In other cases, the breastbone is only partly opened. That helps with your recovery.

Why Choose a Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery?

The benefits are:

  • A shorter hospital stay because your chest isn't fully opened
  • Faster recovery
  • Smaller cuts & smaller scars
  • Less likely to have complications like needing a blood transfusion, having an infection, or getting uneven heart rhythms

Are You a Good Candidate for Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery?

You don't need to be considered "high-risk" to qualify. But a minimally invasive procedure isn't right for everyone. Your heart surgeon looks at:

  • Your body type
  • Lung capacity
  • Heart function