Mitral Valve Repair

Mitral valve (MV) repair is a treatment for mitral valve disease, including for a leaking (regurgitant) mitral valve and a narrowed (stenotic) mitral valve. The MV is located between two chambers of the heart, the left atrium and the left ventricle. This valve ensures that blood flow keeps going in the proper direction. Surgery may be needed when the valve is hardened (calcified), blocking blood from moving through it, or is too loose, causing blood to flow backward (regurgitate). Repair rather than replacement of the MV is now the usual method of treating MV disease, largely because MV repair avoids the need for most blood thinning medication, and has better long-term survival. The repair is usually performed with minimally invasive methods: a doctor can operate on the heart valve through a two- to three-inch incision near the breastbone or through some smaller cuts in the chest that allow the use of a tiny camera and special surgical tools (endoscopic surgery). Open surgery with advanced techniques may be required in more complex cases. A heart-lung machine may be used while the valve is repaired. A patient may expect to spend three to five days in the hospital after surgery, including up to two days in an intensive care unit.


With the first and largest comprehensive heart valve program in the state, UAB Medicine provides continuing care for patients who have or are at risk for valve disease. Our team of surgeons and cardiologists are among the nation’s most highly regarded physicians, and they provide a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of valve disease. From aortic valve stenosis to mitral valve regurgitation, and from traditional open-heart surgery to the latest in minimally invasive procedures and robotic-assisted valve repair surgery, UAB patients benefit from our expertise in treating patients with valve disease.

The UAB Comprehensive Valve Program has built an impressive list of accomplishments in recent years. Our cardiologists and heart surgeons performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Alabama; to date UAB has performed more TAVRs than any other hospital in the state. As an added service, patients who have been told by non-UAB doctors that they need valve surgery can speak to a UAB valve surgeon for a second opinion.


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