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Mitral Valve Regurgitation Treatment

Tampa General Hospital offers several options to treat mitral valve regurgitation.

The mitral valve is one of four valves within the heart. It is located between the left atrium and left ventricle and ensures oxygen-rich blood flows from the lungs, through the left atrium and into the left ventricle to be delivered to organs and tissues throughout the body. If the mitral valve does not close tightly after the blood flows from the left atrium to the left ventricle, mitral valve regurgitation occurs. With this condition, blood flows backward through the heart, resulting in less blood getting to critical organs and tissues in the body and the heart working harder to compensate for this loss.

For patients with mild mitral valve regurgitation, treatment commonly involves a monitoring approach, lifestyle changes and medication. For patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation, surgery is typically the appropriate course of action.

Treatment Details

Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute offers advanced treatments for mitral valve regurgitation, including minimally invasive and robot-assisted options that allow for a quicker recovery period.

Treatment for this condition may involve:

  • Mitral valve repair – This procedure aims to preserve as much as the mitral valve as possible. It may involve reconnecting the valve flaps, removing excess valve tissue, reshaping the valve or replacing chords that support the valve. Most surgeons will also implant an artificial ring around the circumference of the valve for additional support.
  • Mitral valve replacement – In serious cases of mitral valve regurgitation, a complete replacement is necessary. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the damaged heart valve and replaces it with a mechanical valve or a biological tissue valve (made from cow, pig or human heart tissue).
  • MitraClip® – Patients who aren’t candidates for open-heart valve surgery may be eligible for MitraClip®, a V-shaped clip that attaches to a mitral valve leaflet to reduce leakage.

What to Expect

The benefits of mitral valve regurgitation treatment include preserving heart function, improving your symptoms and having a better quality of life. Patients who are eligible for a mitral valve repair over a replacement will also benefit from not needing to be on blood thinners and having a lower risk of stroke or infection.

There are, of course, risks to any surgical procedure. These include:

  • Infection
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Blood clots

Effectiveness

Mitral valve repair is a highly effective treatment for mitral valve regurgitation, with a majority of patients not needing a second operation to repair the valve.

Mitral valve replacement is also very effective, although biological tissue valves may degenerate over time and the procedure may need to be repeated. Mechanical valves often require the long-term use of blood thinners to prevent clots.

TGH’s Heart & Vascular Institute comprises some of the leading heart surgeons and cardiac specialists in the nation, who are well-versed on both common and complex heart conditions. With advanced technology, state-of-the-art surgery rooms and excellent outcomes, TGH offers the best in mitral valve regurgitation treatment.