Mitral Valve Repair

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Mitral valve disease can leave you tired, gasping for breath, and feeling pain in your chest. You're probably worried about a heart attack. But a mitral valve repair can fix your mitral valve disease and get you back to feeling normal.

Mitral Valve Repair at UVA Health

It's usually better to repair your leaking mitral valve than replace it. At UVA Health, we repair 90-95% of leaking mitral valves. Our surgeons have a long history of mitral valve repair beginning in the 1990s. In fact, many valve repair techniques were developed here.

We're involved in many clinical trials researching new ways to treat the mitral valve through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And, our team has written textbooks and journal articles that have advanced the field of mitral valve repair.

How Do We Repair Your Mitral Valve?

The mitral valve is found between the top (atrium) and bottom (ventricle) chambers on the left side of your heart. It has 2 flaps to control the flow of blood from your lungs into your heart. The mitral valve often leaks or lets blood flow backward from your heart into your lungs (called mitral regurgitation).

Less often, the mitral valve can become narrow (called mitral stenosis). That limits blood flow from the lungs back to the heart.

Mitral valve repair means fixing the valve itself. That might involve:

  • Trimming or changing the shape of the flaps (called resection)
  • Replacing broken tendons that are attached to the flaps (called chordal replacement)
  • Supporting the ring of tissue that is around the flaps with more tissue or a ring made of cloth or metal (called annuloplasty)

Mitral Valve Repair: Types of Procedures

Our mitral valve repairs are mostly done using only tiny cuts on your body (called incisions). Types of mitral valve repair procedures include:

  • Minimally invasive mitral valve repair (thoracoscopic or endoscopic)
  • Percutaneous (transcatheter) mitral valve clip placement

Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery uses small incisions in your chest to get to and repair your leaking mitral valve. During the procedure, you're placed on a heart-lung machine using another small incision in your groin. Most patients go home in several days.

Percutaneous mitral valve clip placement (MitraClip) involves putting a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in your groin. Through the tube, we put a small clip on the mitral valve. This way, we repair your mitral valve without stopping your heart or making an incision. The recovery time is even shorter and most patients go home the next day.

Not all our patients are good candidates for these types of mitral valve repairs. If you need additional procedures, have diseased coronary arteries, or have other conditions, a traditional mitral valve repair surgery might be a better choice.

Open Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

This is the traditional way of doing mitral valve repair. We get to your heart by opening up your chest. You'll be put on a heart-lung machine during the procedure. 

After the surgery, you'll need to spend a few days in the hospital recovering.

Mitral Valve Repair Specialists

UVA Health’s expert mitral valve team includes surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, perfusionists, and technicians. 

Our top concern is your safety. Talk to your doctor to see what kind of mitral valve procedure is best for you.