Why mitral valve replacement surgery?

Mitral valve repair and replacement are surgical procedures used to repair or replace a leaking or stiff mitral valve in the heart. Between the left and right cardiac chambers is the mitral valve (left atrium and left ventricle).

Mitral valve replacement surgery procedures can be performed as open-heart surgery or as minimally invasive heart surgery. Occasionally, a catheter-based technique may be used to correct a mitral valve issue. The specific surgery performed is determined by the degree of your mitral valve disease and its prognosis.

Why is it done?
If you have mitral valve disease, such as:

Regurgitation of the mitral valve. The mitral valve’s flaps (leaflets) do not seal tightly, allowing blood to seep backward. Regurgitation of the mitral valve is prevalent in patients with mitral valve prolapse. If you have significant symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation, mitral valve repair surgery is indicated.
Severe stenosis of the mitral valve. The valve leaflets thicken or stiffen and may fuse together. This narrows the valve and decreases blood flow across the area.
If your mitral valve disease is mild, your health care physician may initially recommend routine checks to monitor your heart health. Medications may be provided to help treat symptoms.

Occasionally, mitral valve repair or replacement is performed even if there are no symptoms. Performing surgery on some persons with severe mitral valve regurgitation who are asymptomatic — rather than monitoring the condition — has been shown to enhance long-term outcomes.

When possible, health care practitioners may propose mitral valve repair to patients with mitral valve disease, as this preserves the mitral valve and may also preserve heart function.

Mitral valve repair may be performed to avoid issues associated with mitral valve replacement, including blood clots caused by mechanical valve failure and biological tissue valve failure.