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
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
The advantages of mitral valve repair include the
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
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
It reduces the need for repeat valve surgery later in
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).
(calcification) of the valve.
Prolapse (bulging) of the valve at an
Replacement surgery is usually preferred if you have a hard, calcified
mitral valve ring (annulus) or widespread damage to the valve and surrounding
The disadvantages of mitral valve replacement include the
An artificial valve will need to be replaced after a certain number of years.
If you have a mechanical valve, you will take anticoagulant medicine for the rest of your life to prevent blood clots.
If you choose mitral valve replacement, your surgeon will preserve as
much of the valve as possible. Doing so provides a greater chance of
success after surgery. Keeping the valve's base intact reduces the amount of
foreign structures to which the heart must grow accustomed after replacement