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Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery

Blood that comes from the lungs enters the left atrium of the heart and crosses into the left ventricle and it is the mitral valve between these two chambers that makes sure that the blood keeps moving forward. When the mitral valve is hardened, it prevents the blood from moving forward and when it is too loose, the blood tends to flow backwards. Both of these conditions cause symptoms and may require mitral valve surgery. Mitral valve surgery is a procedure used to either repair or replace the mitral valve the heart. Before your surgery you will receive general anesthesia and you may or may not need to be on a heart-lung machine for these types of surgery.

There are several different ways to perform minimally invasive mitral valve surgery:

  • The heart surgeon may make a 2 to 3inch long cut in the right part of the chest near the breastbone and the muscles in the area are divided so that the surgeon can reach the heart. A small cut is also made in the left side of your heart so the surgeon can repair or replace the mitral valve.
  • In endoscopic surgery the surgeon makes one to four small holes in your chest and then he uses special instruments and a camera to do the surgery.
  • For robotically-assisted valve surgery, the surgeon makes two to four tiny cuts in your chest and then he uses a special computer to control robotic arms during the surgery. The surgeon sees a three-dimensional view of the heart and mitral valve on the computer.

Minimally invasive surgery may be done because of:

  • Changes in your mitral valve are causing heart symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting spells or heart failure.
  • Tests showing changes in your mitral valve are beginning to seriously affect your heart function.
  • A heart valve that has been damaged by infection.