This procedure is also known as mitral valve plasty.
The goal is to replace the patient's native valve that has become incompetent (or “leaky”). The incompetence may be caused by a gradual degeneration of the valve due to wear and tear or by a defect in the valve flap tissue. The mitral valve is one of the main heart valves that allows oxygenated blood to flow from the left atrium (cavity that receives oxygenated blood from the lungs) to the left ventricle (which pumps blood to the aorta and all of the body's vital organs). The valve is called “incompetent” when the flaps are unable to hold back blood when closed either because of a degenerated flap or tear in a tendon cord holding back the flap or because the heart has enlarged and gradually deformed the valve, thereby preventing the flaps from fitting together.
A mitral valve repair (plasty) procedure lasts 2 to 3 hours.
The MHI will contact surgical patients at home to plan a pre-admission meeting. If you are unable to attend one of these meetings, you can still get a lot of useful information about your procedure in the MHI's Heart Surgery: Patient's Handbook. If you have concerns before the surgery, you can contact the nurse working with your surgeon at 514-376-3330, extension 4062.
For this procedure, patients must be hospitalized in the Surgical Unit the night before the procedure or must arrive early the morning of the operation. The required exams are as follows: blood work and biochemical analysis, coronary angiography, chest X-ray, cardiac ultrasound and, if required, cardiac CT scan.
On the day of the surgery:
• You must be in a fasting state as of midnight the night before.
• A member of the care team will shave the required areas of the body.
• After being shaved, patients must wash with a disinfectant soap and put on a new hospital gown.
• The nurse will give patients their normal medication as well as medication to help them relax. The nurse applies a nasal cannula to administer oxygen.
• A patient service associate takes the patient to the operating room, where a specialist administers anesthesia.
This Mitral valve repair lasts 2 to 3 hours, and patients are put under general anesthesia and on heart-lung bypass. A valve repair generally involves sewing an artificial ring around the valve. Long-term anticoagulant therapy (Coumadin®) is generally not required.
After the surgery, patients are transferred to intensive care for 24 to 48 hours. Visits to intensive care are limited to one person for 5 minutes on the day of the surgery and for 15 minutes on the hour starting from 11:00 a.m. the next day. After this period, patients are then transferred to the Surgery Unit for 4 to 5 days. In this unit, patients can receive visitors during regular visiting hours.
Patients normally see the surgeon 2 to 3 months after the procedure and are then followed by their family doctor or cardiologist. The main side effects are fatigue and shortness of breath, which will gradually disappear with exercise and a return to normal activities. Patients generally return to work after 3 months of recovery.