If your chronicmitral valve regurgitation (MR) becomes severe or you
have symptoms of
heart failure, such as shortness of breath, swelling,
and fatigue, surgery to
repair or replace your mitral valve will be needed.
Surgery is usually delayed if no
symptoms or signs of heart failure are present. Your doctor will check for symptoms and check your heart during your regular visits. If follow-up tests show
enlargement or abnormal function of the left ventricle, then the doctor usually
Some doctors believe it's best to repair or replace the valve before you
develop severe symptoms, because it leads to better long-term health. On the
other hand, surgery is a major procedure that has its own risks and
complications. Even if you have no symptoms, talk to your doctor about the
benefits of surgery and about your heart's condition, your age, and your
With acute MR, urgent surgery to
repair or replace the valve is usually needed. In some cases, surgery to
correct the cause of acute MR may also be needed.
Repair is typically preferred over replacement. The
decision between repairing or replacing the valve depends on the type of damage
you have. For more information, see the topic Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve.
If mitral valve repair is done before the heart is severely damaged by the faulty valve,
most people have excellent short- and long-term results.1
To repair the valve, the
- Reshape the valve by removing excess valve
- Add support to the valve ring by adding tissue or a
collar-shaped structure around the base of the valve.
- Attach the valve
to nearby cordlike heart tissues (chordal transposition).
replacement, the badly damaged valve is removed and a mechanical (plastic or
metal) or bioprosthetic valve (usually made from pig tissue) is sewn into
place. Before you have valve replacement surgery, you and your doctor will decide on which type of valve is right for you.
For more information, see:
- Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery.
- Heart Valve Problems: Should I Choose a Mechanical Valve or
Tissue Valve to Replace My Heart Valve?
A transcatheter procedure is a new way to repair a mitral valve. It does not require open-heart surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses catheters in blood vessels to insert a device in the valve. The device helps keep blood from leaking backward. This may relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. This procedure is available in a small number of hospitals. And it is not right for everyone. It might be done for a person who can't have surgery or for a person who has a high risk of serious problems from surgery.2