A mitral valve replacement surgery is used to substitute a malfunctioning heart valve with an artificial prosthetic implant. This is a major type of surgery and is most useful in treating severe medical disorders of the heart such as mitral valve stenosis and mitral valve regurgitation.
This valve replacement surgery may be performed using conventional open-heart surgery method or the more modern minimally invasive surgical methods. This choice depends on several factors such as your age, overall health, activity level, prevalent medical conditions (if any) and your doctor’s discretion.
How is a Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery performed?
A mitral valve replacement surgery is a major type of cardiac surgery and requires extensive planning and strategy to make it successful and satisfactory.
A conventional open-heart surgery requires the surgeon to make a large incision along the middle of the rib cage. The surrounding organs are shifted to the site in order to gain clear access to the heart valve. The surgeon will be required to connect you to a heart-lung (cardio-pulmonary machine) for the duration of the surgery in order to keep the rest of the body to function normally. The heart muscles are numbed and the heart stopped in order to remove the damaged mitral valve and replace it with a substitute artificial implant valve. The surgeon will then shift the surrounding organs carefully back into their original position. The cut rib cage is then held together using surgical clamps and the surgeon then closes the incision with the help of strong sutures.
The minimally invasive surgical method requires less number of incision as well as smaller (keyhole) incisions. This provides less pain from surgery, faster recovery and a resultants shorter hospital stay as compared to the conventional surgery method.
The surgeon may use conventional open-heart method or the minimally invasive surgical method however the main aim of the surgery is to replace the damaged mitral valve in the heart.
Why is a Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery required?
Valve replacement surgery is the most ideal treatment method for people suffering from severe valve regurgitation or valve stenosis problems in case valve repair surgery is unsuccessful in treating them.
Although an artificial mitral valve might not work as good as a natural valve it can work sufficiently to relieve you of the painful symptoms and to improve your quality of life. This surgery is considered when the damage to the valve is till irreparable extent and no other option is deemed plausible.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
This medical disorder is mostly treated with a mitral valve replacement surgery for severe cases. This surgery is recommended if you have regurgitation symptoms, regurgitation is severe and is accompanied by low heart pumping and abnormally large left ventricle. The surgeon will determine the requirement for valve replacement surgery depending on certain factors such as the cause of the mitral valve regurgitation.
Mitral Valve Stenosis
Mitral valve stenosis is treated with a valve replacement surgery if you have definite symptoms with severe stenosis. This is suggested when the balloon valvotomy is not considered ideal due to presence of a mitral valve regurgitation problem present.
What are the risks associated with Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery?
As is seen in major types of surgical procedures there will be a slight risk of certain complications that might arise due to the surgical procedure itself, such as:
- Blood clot
- Anesthetic reaction
Apart from these common surgical risks you might also face rare chances of valve implant failure in which the replacement valve does not function as desired. This condition might require regular checkup by the doctor at intervals. As an artificial valve is man-made it faces the liability of being worn out. This situation might require the surgeon to perform a repetitive mitral valve replacement surgery.
A mitral valve replacement surgery is one of the most preferred and successful treatment methods for life-threatening cardiac disorders such as valve regurgitation or valve stenosis.