Mitral valve stenosis happens when your mitral valve becomes narrowed or blocked. The narrowed valve doesn’t open like it should and not enough blood can flow through it. This causes your heart to work harder to pump enough blood through the body. Mitral valve stenosis is usually caused by rheumatic fever, but it can also be caused by any condition that causes narrowing of the mitral valve.
Mitral valve stenosis can be treated by either repairing your mitral valve or by replacing it. But if possible, valve repair is the best option. At Hoag, surgeons perform mitral valve repair using a minimally invasive approach and sometimes using the daVinci® Surgical System robot. This offers patients the benefit of shorter recovery times, shorter hospital stays, less pain after surgery, and a smaller scar. The Nancy and Bill Thompson Heart Valve Center’s echo/surgical team are experts in mitral valve repair. The team repairs 95 percent of all mitral valves (instead of replacing them), compared to the national repair rate, which is just 50 percent (Society of Thoracic Surgeons).
When a valve is badly damaged, mitral valve repair may not be an option. In this case, mitral valve replacement may be performed. During this procedure, your damaged valve is removed and replaced with an artificial valve called a prosthetic valve. There are two types of prosthetic valves: bioprostheses (animal tissue valve) and mechanical valves (made from mechanical parts) At The Nancy and Bill Thompson Heart Valve Center, both types of valves are available. Each prosthetic valve has pros and cons. Before your valve replacement surgery, you and your cardiologist and cardiac surgeon will discuss your options, and you’ll make the decision for you based on your lifestyle, age, medical history and other factors.