What is it?

Mitral valve repair surgery is an open heart surgery performed by cardiothoracic surgeons to treat problems with the mitral valve, including mitral valve stenosis and mitral valve regurgitation.  With stenosis, the opening of the valvebecomes narrowed – decreasing the amount of blood that can travel across the valve.  In mitral valve regurgitation, the valve does not close properly, leading to a backward flow of blood as the heart pumps.  There are a variety of conditions that lead to mitral valve dysfunction.  Some people are born with mitral valve problems, while others develop problems due to infection, heart attacks, or wear and tear of the valve that occurs over time.

Advantages:

  • Better early and late survival
  • Improved lifestyle
  • Better preservation of heart function
  • Lower risk of stroke and infection (endocarditis)
  • No need for blood thinners (anticoagulation)

Recovery

Recovery time and process after mitral valve repair is similar to that of other open-heart surgeries. Most patients return to full activity within 3 to 6 months. 

After the mitral valve repair operation, the patient is transferred to the intensive care unit for close monitoring.  Antibiotics are given to prevent infection, and narcotic medications (frequently morphine) are given to control pain.   After stabilization in the ICU (approximately 1 day), the patient is transferred to the cardiac surgery area until he/she is ready to go home (approximately 4 days). 

Following the mitral valve repair surgery, patients frequently have nausea and decreased appetite and experience weight loss. To prevent weight loss, patients are instructed to eat small, frequent amounts of food, and take medications on a full stomach unless otherwise directed.

Patients should avoid driving, lifting heavy objects, and any strenuous activity during the first 6 weeks.

Cardiothoracic Surgical Procedures