Mitral valve disease
Mitral valve prolapse, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation
Heart valve specialists at Duke’s nationally ranked heart center use advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair and replace diseased mitral valves, one of the four heart valves that control blood flow in and out of the heart. Our surgeons have performed more than 1,500 minimally invasive procedures to repair and replace mitral valves -- placing us among the world’s top three volume leaders. Our skill and experience ensure you get the right treatment for your mitral valve disease so you get better faster.
Advancing the use of minimally invasive mitral valve procedures
Treating mitral valve disease depends on its severity. At early stages, lifestyle changes and medications may prevent the disease from progressing. However, if left untreated, mitral valve disease can seriously impact your quality of life and become life-threatening. Surgery may become necessary when your mitral valve no longer closes properly (mitral valve prolapse), when your mitral valve has narrowed (mitral valve stenosis), or when your mitral valve no longer opens properly, causing it to leak and allow blood to regurgitate, or flow backward, into your heart (mitral valve regurgitation).
Our cardiologists work with you to manage your mitral valve disease, and our surgeons repair and replace damaged valves using minimally invasive techniques in 90 percent of cases. Our experience and skill with the latest treatment options help you feel better, faster.
Choose a Duke heart clinic for your mitral valve disease treatment because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center 5th in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform and the quality of our support services.
- Advanced tools for accurate diagnosis. We use 3-D transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to create highly detailed, up-close images of the valves and chambers, as well as the pumping action of your moving heart.
- More repairs than replacements. When possible, our surgeons opt to repair the mitral valve, rather than replace it. As a result, you are less likely to require blood thinners and undergo repeat procedures.
- Access to novel treatments. We are one of approximately 40 study sites nationwide with access to MitraClip®, a device inserted into the mitral valve to prevent blood from flowing backwards into your heart (mitral valve regurgitation). The device was first studied in patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation who were at high risk for open heart surgery. Now, if you have moderate-to-severe disease and surgery risk, you may be eligible to participate in an ongoing clinical trial of this device.
- More minimally invasive valve treatment options. Our surgeons are ranked among the world’s highest performers of mini-thoracotomy procedures, a minimally invasive technique used for valve repair. The use of smaller incisions, rather than open heart surgery, reduces blood loss, scarring and the risk of infection, while speeding your recovery time.
- A choice in heart valve replacements. If you require a heart valve replacement, we offer mechanical valves that are made of carbon, as well as tissue valves that are made from animal tissue. We educate you on the pros and cons of each, and work with you to determine which option is best for you.
- Streamlined care and convenience. If needed, our cardiologists and surgeons can meet with you on the same day to make your visit as convenient and streamlined as possible.
- Support for your recovery. After mitral valve replacement, our cardiac prevention and rehabilitation team provides a personalized plan for recovery and long-term management of your heart health, including exercise instruction, nutritional counseling and more.
MITRAL VALVE DISEASE
Reduce the symptoms and lower the risks associated with mitral valve disease. May include beta blockers to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, as well as aspirin and/or blood thinners to reduce your risk for blood clots.
If you have had prior heart surgeries or have heart disease, your doctor may recommend open heart surgery -- accessing the heart via an incision in the chest -- for the repair or replacement of the mitral valve.
Surgeons access the heart and replace the mitral valve through a small incision between the ribs. The minimally invasive approach results in less blood loss, lower infection risk, less scarring, and shortens your recovery.
Uses a catheter to thread a balloon into and open the narrowed heart valve.
Surgeons use a catheter to access the heart in patients who are at high risk for open chest surgery and are experiencing symptoms when their mitral valve does not close properly -- known as mitral valve regurgitation. A clip-like device is passed through the catheter and inserted to secure the valve opening and prevent blood from flowing back into the heart. Our involvement in ongoing clinical trials allows us to expand use of this device to patients who have moderate disease and are at lower risk for open heart surgery.
When appropriate, we combine valve repairs with other procedures, such as angioplasty, in our fully equipped hybrid operating room. Undergoing two procedures at once reduces your risk for complications and helps you recover faster.
MITRAL VALVE DISEASE
A thorough evaluation, including listening to your heart sounds using a stethoscope. An abnormal heart murmur may be the only sign of mitral valve disease.
Records the heart’s electrical activity through small electrodes placed on the skin.
Ultrasound creates moving images of the heart in order to determine its size, shape and how well it functions.
A transducer is threaded down the esophagus to reach the heart. Sound waves create highly detailed, up-close images of the valves and chambers, and the pumping action of your moving heart.
Radio waves, magnets and a computer create still and moving images of the heart and vessels.
Catheters are guided through a blood vessel to the heart. Contrast dye is injected and X-rays are taken to capture images of the heart, coronary artery and blood vessels.
Congenital heart conditions, like Marfan syndrome, can increase your risk for mitral valve disease. Comprehensive genetic screening can help determine the best treatment approach for you, and may help ensure the early diagnosis of your family members.