Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve? - Topic Overview

To treat mitral valve regurgitation surgically, the options are to repair or replace the mitral valve.

Repair of the heart valve usually is the preferred surgery instead of replacement of the valve.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

12 Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women, accounting for 40% of all U.S. deaths. That's more than all forms of cancer combined. Why is heart disease so deadly? One reason is that many people are slow to seek help when symptoms arise. Yes, someone gripped by sudden chest pain probably knows to call 911. But heart symptoms aren't always intense or obvious, and they vary from person to person and according to gender. Because it can be hard to make sense of heart symptoms, doctors...

Read the 12 Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore article > >

Valve replacement may be recommended if your mitral valve is seriously damaged and cannot be repaired.

The decision about whether to repair or replace a valve is based on many things, including your general health, the condition of the damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and the expected benefits of surgery. In some cases, the decision clearly may be in favor of repair or in favor of replacement.

When is valve repair recommended?

Repair is typically preferred over replacement. Repair for mitral valve regurgitation:1

  • May lead to better long-term survival.
  • Does not need long-term anticoagulants after surgery.
  • Leads to better function of the left ventricle.
  • Has less risk of serious bleeding.

Repair is more successful if there is not a lot of damage to certain areas of the mitral valve flaps (leaflets) or to the tough fibers that control movement of the mitral valve leaflets (chordae tendineae).

Mitral valve repair is usually preferred if your valve is suitable for reconstruction and the surgeon has the appropriate level of experience and surgical skill.

The advantages of mitral valve repair include the following:

  • It preserves your natural valve and its support (chordae tendineae). In general, the more of the natural valve that can be preserved during a mitral valve replacement, the better the results of the procedure.
  • It prevents the need for lifelong blood-thinning therapy (anticoagulation), which is required to prevent the clotting that typically occurs when an artificial valve is put in the heart.
  • It reduces the need for repeat valve surgery later in life.
  • It may lead to fewer complications and better results after surgery than with mitral valve replacement.

When is valve replacement recommended?

Examples of serious damage or complicated conditions that might lead to mitral valve replacement include:

  • Extensive ballooning of the mitral valve (rather than a single flap that puffs up).
  • Severe hardening (calcification) of the valve.
  • Prolapse (bulging) of the valve at an unusual location.
  • Damage to the valve from infection (endocarditis).
    1|2
    Next Article:

    Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve? Topics

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
     
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
     
    empty football helmet
    Article
    red wine
    Video
     
    eating blueberries
    Article
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
     
    Inside A Heart Attack
    SLIDESHOW
    Omega 3 Sources
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Salt Shockers
    SLIDESHOW
    lowering blood pressure
    SLIDESHOW