Tests & Procedures > Valve Procedures > Mitral Valve Surgery

Mitral Valve Surgery

The cardiovascular surgeons at the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute are the most experienced in Central Pennsylvania in mitral valve surgery and regularly participate in the latest clinical trials.

If you have mitral valve disease, such as mitral regurgitation, stenosis or prolapse,  you may be a candidate for mitral valve surgery. The surgeons at PinnacleHealth are expert at minimally invasive techniques for both repair and replacement surgery. Recent advances in mitral valve surgery have made these procedures safer, resulting in significantly improved outcomes.

The cardiovascular surgeons at the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute are the most experienced in Central Pennsylvania in mitral valve surgery and regularly participate in the latest clinical trials.

Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery vs. Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

The decision whether to repair or replace a valve is based on many factors, including the person's general health, the condition of the damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and the expected benefits of surgery. In some cases, the decision may clearly be in favor of repair or in favor of replacement. Most otherwise healthy patients continue to lead active, normal lives after a mitral valve surgery.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral valve disease occurs when the mitral valve does not work correctly. This can be caused by:
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse. MVP is one of the most common forms of valve disease. In MVP one or both of the mitral valve flaps (called cusps or leaflets) are enlarged, and the flaps' supporting muscles are too long causing the valve to close improperly.
  • Mitral Regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation is also called mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence. Mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve allows a backflow of blood into the heart's the left atrium.
  • Mitral Stenosis. Mitral stenosis is a narrowing or blockage of the mitral valve. The narrowed valve causes blood to backup in the heart's left atrium instead of flowing into the left ventricle.

Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

The preferred treatment for patients with mitral valve disease is a repair of their own valve rather than a replacement valve. Compared to valve replacement, mitral valve repair provides better long-term survival, better preservation of heart function, lower risk of complications, and usually eliminates the need for long-term use of blood thinners such as Coumadin. For these reasons, PinnacleHealth surgeons are committed to mitral valve repair whenever possible.

In mitral valve repair, the surgeon preserves the patient’s own mitral valve tissue. Our surgeons are expert in procedures to successfully repair valves using advanced minimally invasive techniques.

Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery

In some cases the mitral valve is too damaged to be repaired. Mitral valve replacement surgery involves the removal of the badly damaged valve. The valve is replaced with a plastic or metal mechanical valve, or a bioprosthetic valve, which is usually made from pig tissue. The damaged valve is cut out, and the new valve is sewn into place.

Most otherwise healthy patients continue to lead active, normal lives after mitral valve replacement surgery.

Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair

Our surgeons are pioneers in new less invasive approaches for mitral valve repair surgery. These procedures  access the valve through much smaller incisions and without cutting the breastbone. The benefits of these minimally-invasive approaches include:
  • less pain
  • fewer complications
  • shorter hospital stays
  • shorter recovery time

Abbott MitraClip® To Treat Mitral Regurgitation

During the clip placement procedure, a catheter-like tube is run to the heart through the femoral vein in the leg so the leaflets of the mitral valve can be clipped together, helping prevent a backlog of blood and making it easier for patients to complete normal activities.

Right Chest Approach Mitral Valve Repair ("Mini-Mitral")

Among the specialized procedures performed regularly at PHCVI is a right mini-thoracotomy approach to mitral valve repair surgery, which leaves a small 3 inch incision between the ribs on the right side of the chest. In this procedure the surgeon uses small specialized instruments to reach and repair the valve.