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HeartValveSurgery.com: Mitral Valve Repair Webinar

HeartValveSurgery.com, a prominent heart health educational resource and online patient community, recently featured cardiothoracic surgeon Joanna Chikwe, MD, chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery in the Smidt Heart Institute, in a webinar about approaches to mitral valve repair, a surgical procedure that fixes leaking caused by mitral valve regurgitation.

Chikwe explained that the mitral valve helps blood flow in one direction through the heart's chambers. It forms a seal that prevents blood from leaving the left ventricle and flowing back into the left atrium. In patients with mitral valve regurgitation, some blood leaks back through the valve, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Individuals with a severe form of the disease often require surgery.

"Valvular procedures have a profound and positive impact on the quality of life for most patients," Chikwe told webinar participants. Successful surgery often improves a patient's life expectancy and activity level.

"Unfortunately, if a patient waits to get treatment for mitral regurgitation, that delay can negatively impact their life expectancy," Chikwe said.

Chikwe also explained how surgical options have improved in recent years. Making a large incision in the chest, called a sternotomy, now is an outdated alternative for mitral valve repair. The new “gold standard” approach uses robotic assistance to reconstruct the valve through minimally invasive incisions near the ribs.

“Patients who undergo this approach experience tiny incisions and accelerated recoveries,” Chikwe said.

Another method, which partly partly seals a dysfunctional valve using the MitraClip – a transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) device – has been a “game changer” for some patients who previously did not have many surgical options.

“There is no incision to the patient’s chest or ribs during this TMVR procedure,” Chikwe said. “And patients who get a MitraClip implanted often leave the hospital the next day.”

Click here to watch the complete webinar on HeartValveSurgery.com.