What is mitral valve repair?
Mitral valve repair is typically done during an open-heart surgery. It repairs a mitral valve that is not working as it should.
The mitral valve opens and closes to keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart. If the mitral valve doesn't close properly, it's called mitral valve regurgitation. If the valve is very tight and narrow, it's called mitral valve stenosis. In both of these cases, blood doesn't flow through the heart the right way.
You will be asleep during the surgery. In an open-chest surgery, your doctor will make a cut in the skin over your breastbone (sternum). This cut is called an incision. Then the doctor will cut through your sternum to reach your heart. In a less invasive surgery, your doctor will make smaller cuts in your chest. Your sternum is not cut.
The doctor may connect you to a heart-lung bypass machine. It adds oxygen to your blood and moves the blood through your body. This machine will allow the doctor to stop your heartbeat while working on your heart. After repairing the valve, the doctor will restart your heartbeat.
How the repair is done depends on how the mitral valve is damaged. Your doctor can tell you how your mitral valve will be repaired.
If your sternum was cut, the doctor may use wire to put your sternum back together. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples. The wire will stay in your chest. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
You may stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter D234 in the search box to learn more about "Mitral Valve Repair: Before Your Surgery".