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Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement

Mitral Valve Repair

CVT Surgical Center - Mitral Valve Repair
Mitral Valve Repair

What is the mitral valve?

The mitral valve is one of the four heart valves. It has two leaflets the anterior and posterior. The valve lets oxygenated blood from the lungs into the heart when the heart relaxes. When the pumping chamber (left ventricle) contracts and ejects blood the mitral valve closes. An abnormal valve may either leak (insufficiency or regurgitation) or be too tight (stenosis). Either problem may be severe enough to require surgery.

What are the symptoms of mitral valve problems?

A diseased mitral valve may lead to heart failure. The symptoms are tiredness on exertion, shortness of breath, trouble breathing lying down, or abnormal heart rhythms. Mitral valve problems are frequently associated with atrial fibrillation where the upper heart chamber is out of rhythm. Mitral valve leakage can also be associated with mitral valve prolapse, heart attack, or valve infection.

How is the operation performed?

Mitral valve repair is open heart surgery and requires the use of the heart lung machine. The incision is a median sternotomy over the breast bone. The heart is stopped with a special chemical solution and the mitral valve is exposed through the left atrium. The valve may be repaired using special techniques depending on the needs of the particular patient. A ring is placed after the repair to support the valve tissue. The heart will start back on its own when allowed to fill with blood and the newly repaired valve function is checked with an echocardiogram.

CVT Surgical Center - Mitral Valve Ring
Mitral Valve Ring

What are the benefits of mitral valve repair?

The major purpose of the operation is to restore normal heart function. The heart will adjust to the repaired valve over the next few months and the patients symptoms resolve with time. The patients will feel more energy and problems with heart rhythms may resolve. Shortness of breath and tiredness should be improved.

What about my medicines after surgery?

Your cardiologist will assist in placing you back on your home medicines at the appropriate point after surgery. In general, medications for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol will need to be continued at home. Some patients after mitral valve surgery will require Coumadin for blood thinning.

What is the recovery period?

The average patient stays in the intensive care unit 1 night and 5 to 7 days in the hospital. The patient then is discharged home and gradually increases activity over the next 4 to 6 weeks when full recovery is achieved.

What is the mortality rate?

The mortality rate from heart surgery depends on the patient’s overall health, age, heart function, and magnitude of the surgery. The overall mortality rate from mitral valve repair is 3%.

CVT Surgical Center - Mitral Valve Repaired
Mitral Valve Repaired

What are the common complications of mitral valve replacement?

The usual complications from any major surgery apply. Those are infection, bleeding, lung or kidney dysfunction, stroke, and heart damage. It is particularly common after mitral valve surgery to have atrial arrhythmias where the upper chamber of the heart is beating irregularly. I

Can I stay alone after surgery?

You may, although most patients stay with a family member or friend for the first 1 or 2 weeks.

Will I need home health?

All patients are assigned a home health visiting nurse. They will check on the patient as needed usually a couple of times a week for the first few weeks.

When can I drive?

This is an individual decision. Most patients wait to drive until their first post op visit at 3 or 4 weeks. Many young and active patients drive sooner if they are not in pain and not taking pain medications.

When can I go back to work?

Patients performing a desk job may return to work in 3 or 4 weeks. Patients who work hard physically usually take 6 to 8 weeks off.

Mitral Valve Replacement

CVT Surgical Center - St. Jude Valve
St. Jude Valve

What is the mitral valve?

The mitral valve is one of the four heart valves. It has two leaflets the anterior and posterior. The valve lets oxygenated blood from the lungs into the heart when the heart relaxes. When the pumping chamber (left ventricle) contracts and ejects blood the mitral valve closes. An abnormal valve may either leak (insufficiency or regurgitation) or be too tight (stenosis). Either problem may be severe enough to require surgery.

What are the symptoms of mitral valve problems?

A diseased mitral valve may lead to heart failure. The symptoms are tiredness on exertion, shortness of breath, trouble breathing lying down, or abnormal heart rhythms. Mitral valve problems are frequently associated with atrial fibrillation where the upper heart chamber is out of rhythm. Mitral valve leakage can also be associated with mitral valve prolapse, heart attack, or valve infection.

How is the operation performed?

Mitral valve replacement is open heart surgery and requires the use of the heart lung machine. The incision is a median sternotomy over the breast bone. The heart is stopped with a special chemical solution and the mitral valve is exposed through the left atrium. The valve may be repaired or replaced depending on the needs of the particular patient. The heart will start back on its own when allowed to fill with blood and the new valve function is checked with an echocardiogram.

CVT Surgical Center - Mitral Valve Repaired
Mitral tissue valve

What types of valves are used?

Two basic categories of valves are implanted. The first is a mechanical valve, in our practice we use a St. Jude Valve. It is made of synthetic pyrolite carbon with a cloth sewing ring.

The second type of valve is known as a “tissue” valve. It is either a porcine (pig) valve or constructed from bovine (cow) pericardium. It may not require the long term use of coumadin.

What about my medicines after surgery?

Your cardiologist will assist in placing you back on your home medicines at the appropriate point after surgery. In general, medications for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol will need to be continued at home.

What is the recovery period?

The average patient stays in the intensive care unit 1 night and 5 to 7 days in the hospital. The patient then is discharged home and gradually increases activity over the next 4 to 6 weeks when full recovery is achieved.

What is the mortality rate?

The mortality rate from heart surgery depends on the patient’s overall health, age, heart function, and magnitude of the surgery. The overall mortality rate from mitral valve replacement is 5%.

What are the common complications of mitral valve replacement?

The usual complications from any major surgery apply. Those are infection, bleeding, lung or kidney dysfunction, stroke, and heart damage. It is particularly common after mitral valve surgery to have atrial arrhythmias where the upper chamber of the heart is beating irregularly.

Can I stay alone after surgery?

You may, although most patients stay with a family member or friend for the first 1 or 2 weeks.

Will I need home health?

All patients are assigned a home health visiting nurse. They will check on the patient as needed usually a couple of times a week for the first few weeks.

When can I drive?

This is an individual decision. Most patients wait to drive until their first post op visit at 3 or 4 weeks. Many young and active patients drive sooner if they are not in pain and not taking pain medications.

When can I go back to work?

Patients performing a desk job may return to work in 3 or 4 weeks. Patients who work hard physically usually take 6 to 8 weeks off.

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CVT Surgical Center
7777 Hennessy Ave. Suite 1008 · Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808
800-375-0416 - Toll Free | 225-766-0416 - Front Desk
Heart Surgery Louisiana, Vascular Surgery Louisiana, Coronary Artery Bypass Louisiana
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