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Mitral valve surgery can repair or replace your heart's mitral valve. If you get a valve replaced, the new valve may be mechanical or made of animal tissue. You and your doctor can decide before surgery which type of valve is best for you.
The mitral valve opens and closes to keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart. When the mitral valve does not 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 does not flow through the heart the right way.
The 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.
The doctor will 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 he or she works on your heart.
After the doctor has repaired or replaced your mitral valve, he or she will restart your heartbeat. Then 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 3 to 8 days after surgery.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: April 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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