Advanced options to improve function of the mitral valve
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Treatments for mitral valve disease vary based on the type and severity of your disease. We bring together surgeons, interventional cardiologists and imaging specialists to discuss and analyze each patient to determine the most effective treatment. If you need surgery, we offer minimally invasive techniques to repair damaged valves and have several options for replacement. Our Structural Heart and Valvular Disease Program performs more than 100 complex mitral valve surgical repairs each year.
Monitoring, medication and lifestyle changes
If your condition and symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend monitoring your valve function with regular testing. In some cases, blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots or medication to lower blood pressure can prevent complications and prevent your valve disease from worsening. Your doctor also may recommend making heart-healthy lifestyle changes, such as diet or exercise.
Surgery to repair or replace your mitral valve
Your doctor may recommend repairing or replacing your mitral valve if your condition is severe or causing symptoms that can’t be controlled by lifestyle changes or medication.
- Valve repair: Mitral valve repair is often the preferred method because it uses your own tissue and has a lower risk of complications. Valve repair may be able to patch a hole in the valve’s flaps or reshape the flaps to allow the valve to open and close more effectively.
- Valve replacement: If your mitral valve can’t be repaired, it may be replaced with a biological valve (made from cow or pig tissue) or mechanical valve (made of plastic, carbon or metal). Receiving a mechanical valve will require you to take blood thinners for the rest of your life to reduce the risk of bleeding and stroke.
Minimally invasive procedures to treat mitral valve disease
Some mitral valve procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques. These procedures may be performed through several small incisions in the chest or through a catheter.
Some minimally invasive mitral valve procedures we offer include:
- MitraClip®: This catheter-based procedure uses a clip to fix a leaky mitral valve. This treatment may be recommended if you are too sick for surgery.
- Mitral valvuloplasty: This catheter-based procedure uses an inflated balloon to reopen the valve and allow blood to flow more easily to the chambers of the heart, lungs and rest of the body.
MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is also one of six centers nationwide studying the feasibility of using the Tendyne Mitral Valve System for the treatment of patients with severe mitral regurgitation.
Mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve allows blood to flow backward through the heart.
Mitral stenosis causes the mitral valve to become narrow and decrease blood flow through the heart.
Disease of the mitral valve, which controls blood flow between the two left chambers of ths the heart.
Mitral valve prolapse causes the leaflets that form the mitral valve to bulge into the left atrium.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.