Your Heart Valves
Your Heart Valves

Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair: Why Repair Is Better Than Replacement

Mitral valve repair is the best option for nearly all patients with a leaking (regurgitant) mitral valve and for many with a narrowed (stenotic) mitral valve.

Compared to valve replacement, mitral valve repair provides better long-term survival, better preservation of heart function, lower risk of complications, and usually eliminates the need for long-term use of blood thinners (anticoagulants). For these reasons, Cleveland Clinic surgeons are committed to mitral valve repair, when possible.

Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair:

  • Better early and late survival (Longer life!)
  • Improved lifestyle
  • Better preservation of heart function
  • Lower risk of stroke and infection (endocarditis)
  • No need for blood thinners (anticoagulation)

Your Mitral Valve

Your Mitral Valve

Mitral Valve Chordae and Papillary Muscles

Mitral Valve Chordae and Papillary Muscles

What is the risk of mitral valve surgery?

For asymptomatic patients having mitral valve repair, the operative risk is approximately 1 in 1000. Risk in symptomatic patients remains well under 1%. The presence of coronary artery disease or other conditions that require surgical treatment will affect your individual risk. Ask your doctor about your surgical risk.

What is the durability of a mitral valve repair?

After mitral valve repair, 95% of patients are free of reoperation at 10 years, and this figure is approximately 90% at 20 years. Thus, reoperation is uncommon after a successful mitral valve repair. An echocardiogram is recommended annually to assess valve function. In addition, patients who had valve surgery must take steps to prevent infection and reduce the risk of endocarditis (an infection of the valve).

Why is it important to have my surgery at a center with a large experience in mitral valve repair?

Mitral valve repair is the best option for nearly all patients with a leaking (regurgitant) mitral valve and for many with a narrowed (stenotic) mitral valve.Compared to valve replacement, mitral valve repair provides better long-term survival, better preservation of heart function, lower risk of complications, and usually avoids the need for long-term use of blood thinners (anticoagulation). For these reasons, Cleveland Clinic surgeons are committed to mitral valve repair.

Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair

  • Better early and late survival
  • Improved lifestyle
  • Better preservation of heart function
  • Lower risk of stroke and infection (endocarditis)
  • No need for blood thinners (anticoagulation)

Mitral valve repair is more challenging than mitral valve replacement, and experienced surgeons are more likely to be able to repair the valve and ensure an excellent outcome.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2019.

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