Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery is most often needed for mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis patients. Mitral valve replacement is typically performed as an open heart surgical procedure. However, minimally invasive types of mitral valve replacement surgeries may be another option.
Mitral valve repair surgery is typically preferred over mitral valve replacement surgery for both regurgitation & stenosis patients. However, in cases where repair surgery is not a suitable option, mitral valve replacement surgery is commonly recommended. Since artificial mitral valve will not work as well as a normal mitral valve can, valve replacement procedure is therefore only recommended by cardiac surgeons where it is absolutely necessary. Mitral heart valve replacement may be essential in cases when the valve has deteriorated to the point where repair is no more possible or if anatomy of valve has changed by one or more repair procedures & therefore can no longer be repaired. Doctors will also consider age of patients & overall health while deciding to opt for mitral heart valve replacement surgery.
Surgery is performed almost immediately so as to repair or replace the valve. Surgical intervention for chronic regurgitation is most often recommended in the following cases:
Decision to undergo surgery also depends upon what basically caused mitral regurgitation, including the following:
Surgical intervention for mitral valve stenosis may usually be recommended in the following circumstances.
Mitral valve replacement surgery is most likely recommended in cases where patients need surgical intervention but cannot undergo commissurotomy or balloon valvotomy surgery in order to repair mitral valve.
Repairing of heart valve is usually a preferred surgical procedure for mitral valve problems. Heart valve replacement surgery is only recommended when mitral valve is severely damaged. Decision regarding repairing or replacing mitral valve is based on several things including patients’ general health, presence of other health conditions, condition of the damaged valve & expected benefits from surgery.
This is a newer way to repair mitral valve. Transcatheter repair does not require open-heart surgery approach. It can be effectively performed through a minimally invasive procedure. Surgeons during this surgery use catheters in blood vessels so as to insert a device within the valve. This device is designed to help keep blood from leaking backwards & thereby relieve symptoms so as to improve quality of life. Even though it is a commonly available procedure in a number of small hospitals nowadays, it is however not the best procedure for every patient. This procedure can be performed for people who cannot undergo open-heart surgery or for patients who have high risk of serious problems from open-heart surgery.
There are two types of primary artificial mitral valves called bioprosthetic tissue or biological valves & mechanical valves. Biological valves are basically made from animal tissues. Biological valves allow patients to avoid using blood thinners. Moreover, biological valves will only last for 10 – 15 years. On the other side, mechanical valves are generally made from metal & pyrolytic carbon & which can almost last a lifetime. However, choice of the type of valve to use depends upon the lifestyle, medical condition, preferences of medication & age of the patient.
Prior to undergoing mitral valve replacement, the surgeon in consultation with the patient will decide which type of valve would be most suitable. Patients are normally given general anesthesia during valve replacement surgery. Incision for this purpose is normally made horizontally under left breast or at times vertically through the sternum. They are also placed upon a heart-lung machine during the surgical procedure. Canulae for this purpose are placed to re-route blood to heart-lung machine. Blood is circulated outside of body & oxygen is added during the process using heart-lung cardiopulmonary bypass machine. Heart may also be cooled to slow or stop heartbeat in order to protect heart muscle from damage during the mitral heart valve replacement procedure. An incision is made within the left atrium so as to expose the mitral valve. Damaged mitral valve is cut out & removed & replaced by sewing an artificial mitral heart valve in its place as part of the procedure. Left atrium is then finally closed & patients weaned away from cardiopulmonary bypass. Patients are then typically taken to an intensive care unit (ICU) following completion of mitral valve replacement surgery.
Recovery from mitral heart valve replacement surgery usually involves few days inside intensive care unit of a hospital. Full recovery from mitral valve replacement however can take several months. Recovery generally includes healing of surgical incision, exercise & gradual building upon physical endurance. Patients may feel sore & tired for the first few weeks after surgery. They may also experience brief & sharp pains on either sides of the chest. Shoulders, chest & upper back may also ache. Incision site on chest may be sore or swollen. However, most of these symptoms usually get better between 4 – 6 weeks & patients will probably be able to do many activities. Nevertheless, patients are advised not to lift heavy objects or perform activities which strain chest or upper arm muscles. Patients would initially notice that they easily get tired & may take 1 – 2 months of time for their energy to come back. Even after surgery has successfully repaired the mitral valve, it is still important that patients eat healthy foods & get regular exercise. They should not smoke, reduce stress & take heart medications as prescribed. Surgeons would recommend that they work with a dietitian, a nurse & physical therapist while making these changes, which are sometimes referred to as cardiac rehabilitation.
Exact risks involving mitral valve replacement surgery vary depending upon specific conditions & general health of the patient prior to surgery. Younger & healthy individuals have lower risk of developing problems while older people with health problems pose higher risks. Risks in general, following mitral valve replacement surgery include the following.
Once the diseased mitral valve is replaced, the new artificial valve works more like a normal valve allowing blood to flow more normally through heart. Patients generally feel better & live a better quality of life following mitral valve replacement surgery. Outcome of this heart valve replacement surgery normally depends upon the patient’s heart & overall health including associated health conditions.
After mitral valve stenosis & mitral valve regurgitation patients take up the artificial valve, their heart functions & life will largely return to normal. They would feel much better than before in case they had symptoms prior to surgery. They will no longer feel fatigued or have shortness of breath. However, if their heart was already severely affected prior to surgery, they may continue to have complications of heart disease. Although mitral heart valve replacement surgery patients may have to continue monitoring their condition, they may be able to resume most normal activities. They should in any case watch out for symptoms relating to infections & blood clots. Artificial mitral heart valve will require to be replaced again after a certain period of time, so patients should ensure that they regularly see the doctor. Patients having a mechanical mitral heart valve are more likely to develop blood clots in heart. They will therefore need to take anticoagulant medications for the rest of their life as a preventive measure.
Mitral heart valve disease can be serious if left untreated. Most severe cases can lead to arrhythmias which are irregular heartbeats or to heart failure which is life-threatening. Cardiac treatments including cardiac surgeries in India are at par with the best in the world. Many top surgeons in the country have initially trained & experienced in western countries like UK, Canada & United States before returning to their homeland. Indian healthcare infrastructure is also world-class & is well equipped with the latest advanced technological equipments. India is also now home to several international groups of hospitals who have opened facilities here. IndianMedTrip is a leading medical tourism company in South Asia who is associated with these top cardiac surgeons & healthcare facilities. They are in a suitable position to offer the best medical care at affordable costs. IndianMedTrip coordinated medical travel is seamless, hassle-free & carefully convenient opportunity providing wellness tourism packages to international patients.