Mitral Valve Disease
The mitral valve is a complex structure that controls blood flow through the left side of the heart. When open, the mitral valve allows blood to flow into the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. When the left ventricle contracts to push blood through the body, the mitral valve closes to prevent blood from flowing back toward the lungs.
Sometimes the mitral valve is abnormal from birth, or becomes damaged by infection. More often, mitral valve structures become damaged with age or from coronary artery disease. Whatever the cause, an abnormal or damaged mitral valve cannot completely seal the heart’s left ventricle, allowing blood to escape and flow backwards. This makes the heart work harder, and could lead to further mitral valve damage and other potential complications, such as congestive heart failure.
Surgical repair involves delicate reconstruction of native valve tissues in order to restore proper function. The most common approach to repair requires the surgeon to saw open the breastbone and spread the ribs to gain direct access to the heart. Cutting the sternum and opening the rib cage – the body’s natural protective structure for the heart – can prolong healing time, increase risk of infection, serious complications and even mortality.
However, you may be a candidate for a new, less invasive surgical procedure utilizing the da Vinci™ surgical robot. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon see vital anatomical structures more clearly and to perform a more precise surgical procedure.
For most patients, the da Vinci procedure offers numerous potential benefits over traditional open-chest surgery, including:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain and scarring
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
- Faster recovery
- Quicker return to normal activities
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is patient- and procedure-specific.
Download our Patient Guide, “Changing the Experience of Cardiac Surgery.”