Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair

It may come as a surprise but, according to the American Heart Association, nearly five million American citizens are diagnosed each year with heart valve disease. Some people are born with the defect, while others develop it throughout their lifetime. Although not all victims of heart valve disease are suitable, a large number can be helped through minimally invasive mitral valve repair.

Heart valve disease occurs whenever a heart valve does not function properly. Either the valve does not open all the way, or does not close correctly. The blood does not flow through the heart chambers the way it should. That can cause irreversible damage. Minimally invasive mitral valve repair is often used when the heart valve does not close tightly. Once the procedure has been completed successfully, the blood will stop to leak backwards. The heart will grow stronger again.

When physicians suspect heart problems, they will order a set of tests to confirm their diagnosis. They can select tests such as:

• A basic EKG
• A chest X-Ray
• A stress test
• A tilt table test
• An echocardiogram
• A cardiac catheterization or coronary angiogram
• An electrophysiology test (EP test)
• A computed tomography (CT) heart scan
• A myocardial biopsy
• A heart MRI
• A pericardial tap (pericardiocentesis)

As soon as heart valve problems have been detected, the necessary steps for a repair procedure can be initiated. Minimally invasive mitral valve repair surgery is not suitable for patients with a very weak heart, or those in need of extensive medical treatments, such as bypass surgery.

The goal of minimally invasive surgery is to make the surgical incision smaller than those usually made during standard heart surgeries. Shorter incisions generally heal faster and will leave smaller, less visible scars. Operating through a smaller incision demands a lot of technical knowledge. It can only be performed by the best heart surgeons.

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