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Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy

Treatments typically involve high doses of intravenous (IV) antibiotics in the hospital. Blood tests will identify the type of bacteria involved and the proper antibiotic will be prescribed. The antibiotic treatments may last up to six weeks.

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter

This will require the placement of an IV catheter in your arm for the duration of your treatment. This is also known as a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line. You will be monitored closely during and after treatment to ensure the infection is resolving. Sometimes, surgery is needed to repair or replace the damaged valve.

Surgical Therapies

If the infection revealed an abnormal heart valve, surgery may be required to repair the valve and its function.

Mitral Valve Repair

Fixes Faulty Valve

Mitral valve repair is an operation designed to fix the faulty valve. Repairing, as opposed to replacing, the abnormal valve is the goal.

Less Likely to Weaken the Heart

Repair is less likely to weaken the heart, carries a lower risk of infection, and decreases the need for the lifelong use of blood-thinning medications. We are successful in valve repair for mitral regurgitation in 95 percent of cases.

In valve repair, an incision is made in the breastbone to expose the heart. An alternative approach that allows access to the heart through one or more small incisions in the side of the chest wall may be used in some patients. This minimally-invasive approach can result in a smaller incision or scar, reduced blood loss, and a shorter hospital stay.


A mitral valve repair operation involves surgery on the leaflets as well as an annuloplasty. In an annuloplasty, a prosthetic ring is used to tighten the annulus (ring) around the valve through which the leaflets connect to the heart muscle.

Mitral Valve Replacement

At the CardioVascular Institute, approximately 95 percent of patients needing mitral valve surgery for mitral regurgitation have their leaky valve repaired. If repairing the valve isn't an option, your surgeon will recommend valve replacement.

Faulty Valve Replaced with an Artificial or Prosthetic Valve

In this operation, the faulty valve is replaced with an artificial or prosthetic valve. Prosthetic valves can either be tissue or mechanical.

  • Tissue valves are either porcine (pig) or bovine (calf). If you receive a tissue valve you are less likely to require blood thinning medications. However, these types of valves are more likely to weaken and may need to be replaced after 10-15 years.
  • Mechanical valves can last a lifetime. Because the devices are made of a carbon polymer similar to graphite, however, recipients must take blood-thinning medications for life to prevent the development of blood clots.

Post Op

After surgery, you will typically stay in the intensive care unit for one to two days, with a total hospital stay of about four to five days.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215