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What is mitral valve repair?

Mitral valve replacement surgery may be needed if you have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis. Valve replacement is typically done as an open-heart surgery. Minimally invasive types of surgery may be another option. Before you have valve replacement surgery, you and your doctor will decide on which type of valve is right for you.

Complex valve repair is the procedure most commonly performed to repair the mitral valve. The mitral valve, named for its resemblance to a mitre of a bishop, enables blood to circulate between the two left chambers of the heart.​

Why it's done

Mitral valve repair is performed to repair leaking mitral valves and minimize risk of surgery. It offers better long-term survival, better heart function, a lower risk of complications, and often eliminates the patient's need for long-term use of blood thinners (anticoagulants).

Who it's for

Complex valve repair is used to repair damage to the mitral valve, as a result of stenosis (restricted valve), Barlow syndrome or mitral valve prolapse syndrome (thickened or abnormally elongated leaflets). 


Mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement surgery can involve risks including:

  • Bleeding/blood clots
  • Valve dysfunction in replacement valves
  • Heart rhythm issues
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Death

Types of mitral valve repair

Commissurotomy is an open-heart surgery that repairs a mitral valve that is narrowed from mitral valve stenosis.

During this surgery, a person is put on a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon removes calcium deposits and other scar tissue from the valve leaflets. The surgeon may cut parts of the valve structure. This surgery opens the valve.

It is used for people who have severe narrowing of the valve and aren't good candidates for balloon valvotomy.

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