Some with mitral valve regurgitation don't need treatment, particularly if the condition is mild. However, you will need to be monitored closely.
Controls Troublesome Symptoms
In some cases, that treatment may be with medications, such as diuretics that can relieve fluid accumulation in the lungs (which is often associated with regurgitation), or blood pressure medication, since high blood pressure can make the situation worse. But the condition may also require surgery.
But the condition may also require surgery.
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.
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.