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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve?
To treat mitral valve regurgitation surgically, the options are to repair or replace the mitral valve.
Repair of the heart
valve usually is the preferred surgery instead of replacement of the valve.
Valve replacement may be recommended if your mitral valve is seriously damaged and cannot be repaired.
The decision about whether to repair or replace a
valve is based on many things, including your general health, the
condition of the damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and
the expected benefits of surgery. In some cases, the decision clearly may be in
favor of repair or in favor of replacement.
Repair is typically preferred over replacement. Repair for mitral valve regurgitation:1
Repair is more successful if there is not a lot of
damage to certain areas of the mitral valve flaps (leaflets) or to the tough
fibers that control movement of the mitral valve leaflets (chordae tendineae).
Mitral valve repair is usually preferred if your valve is suitable
for reconstruction and the surgeon has the appropriate level of experience and
The advantages of mitral valve repair include the
Examples of serious damage or complicated conditions that might
lead to mitral valve replacement include:
Replacement surgery is usually preferred if you have a hard, calcified
mitral valve ring (annulus) or widespread damage to the valve and surrounding
The disadvantages of mitral valve replacement include the
If you choose mitral valve replacement, your surgeon will preserve as
much of the valve as possible. Doing so provides a greater chance of
success after surgery. Keeping the valve's base intact reduces the amount of
foreign structures to which the heart must grow accustomed after replacement
A transcatheter procedure is a new way to repair a mitral valve. It does not require open-heart surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses catheters in blood vessels to insert a device in the valve. The device helps keep blood from leaking backward. This may relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. This procedure is available in a small number of hospitals. And it is not right for everyone. It might be done for a person who can't have surgery or for a person who has a high risk of serious problems from surgery.2
Bonow RO, et al. (2008). 2008 Focused update
incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2006 Guidelines for the management of patients
with valvular heart disease: A report of the American College of
Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines
(Writing committee to revise the 1998 Guidelines for the management of patients
with valvular heart disease). Circulation, 118(15):
A percutaneous device (MitraClip) for mitral regurgitation (2013). Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 55(1432): 103.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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