Mitral Valve Repair vs. Replacement

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SURGERY TO REPAIR A FAULTY MITRAL VALVE, an important valve in your heart, is becoming more and more prevalent, and allows patients to return to their normal lives sooner.

About the mitral valve

When the mitral valve becomes weak or damaged from aging, heart attack or a congenital defect, the normal flow stops and causes blood to back up into the lungs. Eventually, heart failure can occur.

“The decision to repair or replace the valve depends on the type of damage to the mitral valve,” explains cardiovascular surgeon William Harris, MD.

Repair is more successful if there is limited damage to certain areas of the valve or to the tough fibers that control movement of flaps that open and close the valve. Replacement is usually preferred for patients who have previously had a replacement or those with widespread damage to the valve and surrounding tissue. The damaged valve is removed, and the new valve is sewn in.

In the past, a weak or leaking mitral valve was treated with medication or replaced using artificial material or bioprosthetic tissue. Today, you have other options, including robotic minimally invasive mitral valve repair, that avoids open heart surgery. Dr. Harris is the only surgeon in Mississippi who performs this operation.


Watch our Ask The Expert episodes with WLBT on Heart Health here: