|Early Winter 2009|
|ASK THE EXPERTS: Mitral Valve Repair |
ASK THE EXPERTS: Mitral Valve Repair
Q: My doctor says I need
surgery to repair the mitral
valve in my heart. Heart
surgery scares me. Should
Cardiothoracic surgeon Umer Darr, MD, responds:
A: The mitral valve controls the
flow of blood between the two
chambers on the left side of
the heart. It also closes to keep blood from leaking into
If a mitral valve is leaky, blood can flow backwards into
your lungs. Your heart will compensate over the short term,
but in the long run your heart will weaken and not pump
blood effectively throughout your body. As a result, you
can develop high blood pressure in your lungs, shortness
of breath and fatigue (extreme tiredness) and eventually
congestive heart failure, which can be life-threatening.
There are a few ways to fix a faulty mitral valve, depending
on the level of damage. The preferred method
is a mitral valve repair (as opposed to replacement), as your
doctor has recommended for you. This is performed
by a cardiothoracic surgeon (a surgeon who specializes in
surgeries of the heart and chest region), who closes
the leaky valve using tiny surgical sutures (stitches). The
benefits of mitral valve repair over other surgical procedures
include longer-lasting results, fewer surgical
complications and a lower risk of stroke and infection.
In addition, you may not need to take a blood thinning
medication following surgery.
The decision to have mitral valve repair should be
made with your doctor, who can certainly discuss its
risks and benefits to your long-term health. The good
news is that nearly all patients who choose to have
the surgery have a perfectly working valve for years—
sometimes decades—after the repair. So that’s one less
thing to worry about!
|Cardiothoracic Surgery at Bridgeport Hospital
Cardiothoracic surgery at Bridgeport Hospital
has expanded to provide patients with expertise
and experience in complex mitral valve repair,
arrhythmia surgery, aortic arch and minimally
invasive procedures unrivaled in Fairfield County.
The comprehensive regionally based cardiothoracic
surgery team includes
With offices in Bridgeport and Southport.
For more information, please call 1-888-384-4868.