Mitral valve surgery is used to repair or replace the mitral valve in your heart.
Blood flows between different chambers through valves that connect the chambers. One of these is the mitral valve. The mitral valve opens so blood can flow from the left atria to the left ventricle. The valve then closes, keeping blood from flowing backwards.
In this type of surgery, the surgeon makes a large cut in your breastbone to reach the heart. Other types of surgery use several smaller cuts.
Before your surgery, you will receive general anesthesia. This will make you asleep and pain-free during the entire procedure.
If your surgeon can repair your mitral valve, you may have:
If your mitral valve is too damaged to be repaired, you will need a new valve. This is called replacement surgery. Your surgeon will remove your mitral valve and sew a new one into place. There are two types of mitral valves:
Once the new or repaired valve is working, your surgeon will:
You may have a temporary pacemaker connected to your heart until your natural heart rhythm returns.
This surgery may take 3 - 6 hours.
You may need surgery if your mitral valve does not work properly.
You may need open-heart valve surgery for these reasons:
Risks for any surgery are:
Possible risks from having open-heart surgery are:
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
You may be able to store blood in the blood bank for transfusions during and after your surgery. Ask your surgeon how you and your family members can donate blood.
You may need to stop taking medicines that make it harder for your blood to clot for 2 weeks before the surgery. These might cause increased bleeding during the surgery.
Get your house ready before you go to the hospital so things will be easier when you return.
The day before your surgery, take a shower and wash your hair. You may need to wash your whole body below your neck with a special soap. Scrub your chest two or three times with this soap. You also may need to take an antibiotic to guard against infection.
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
Most people spend 4-7 days in the hospital after surgery.
You will wake up in the intensive care unit (ICU). You will recover there for 1-2 days. You will have 2-3 tubes in your chest to drain fluid from around your heart. The tubes are usually removed 1-3 days after surgery.
You may have a flexible tube (catheter) in your bladder to drain urine. You may also have intravenous (IV) lines to get fluids. Nurses will watch monitors that show vital signs (pulse, temperature, and breathing).
You will be moved to a regular hospital room from the ICU. Your nurses and doctors will monitor your heart and vital signs until you go home. You will receive pain medicine to control pain around your surgical cut.
Your nurse will help you begin activity slowly. You will go to a physical therapy program to make your heart and body stronger.
Mechanical heart valves do not fail often. They last from 12-20 years. However, blood clots develop on them. If a blood clot forms, you may have a stroke. Bleeding can occur, but this is rare.
Valves made from human or animal tissue fail over time, but have a lower risk of blood clots.
Mitral valve replacement - open; Mitral valve repair - open; Mitral valvuloplasty
Fullerton DA, Harken AH. Acquired heart disease: valvular. In: Townsend CM, Jr Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 61.
Otto CM, Bonow RO. Valvular heart disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 66.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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