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Mitral Valve Surgery at UPMC in Central Pa.

The cardiovascular specialists at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute are the most experienced in Central Pennsylvania at performing mitral valve surgery and minimally invasive transcatheter mitral valve procedures and regularly participate in the latest clinical trials.

Why choose UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute for mitral valve surgery?

The heart valve experts at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute provide expert treatment for mitral valve disease — including mitral regurgitation, stenosis, and prolapse — with outstanding outcomes. Our specialists are highly trained in the latest and safest minimally invasive techniques for mitral valve repair and replacement surgery.

What is mitral valve disease?

Mitral valve disease occurs when your mitral valve does not work correctly. This can be caused by:

  • Mitral valve prolapse (MVP). MVP is one of the most common forms of valve disease. MVP occurs when your mitral valve does not close properly because one or both of the mitral valve flaps (called cusps or leaflets) are enlarged and the flaps' supporting muscles are too long.
  • Mitral regurgitation (MR). MR is also called mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence. MR occurs when your mitral valve allows a backflow of blood into your heart's left atrium.
  • Mitral stenosis. Mitral stenosis is a narrowing or blockage of your mitral valve. The narrowed valve causes blood to back up in your heart's left atrium instead of flowing into your left ventricle.

What is mitral valve surgery?

Mitral valve surgery treats problems with your mitral valve caused by mitral valve disease. It can be performed using traditional open-chest or minimally invasive approaches.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may repair or replace your mitral valve. Your doctor’s recommendation to repair or replace your mitral valve is based on many factors, including your general health, the condition of your damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and the expected benefits of surgery.

Mitral Valve Repair

If you have mitral valve disease, the preferred treatment is a repair of your own valve, rather than a mitral valve replacement.

Compared to mitral 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 such as Coumadin. UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute surgeons are committed to preserving your own mitral valve tissue by performing a mitral valve repair whenever possible.

Mitral Valve Replacement

If your mitral valve is too damaged to be repaired, your surgeon may remove your damaged mitral valve and replace it with a plastic or metal mechanical valve, or a bioprosthetic valve, which is usually made from pig tissue.

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Mitral Valve Disease

Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons have the skills and experience required to successfully perform mitral valve repair and replacement using advanced minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive procedures access your valve through much smaller incisions — without cutting your breastbone. The benefits of these minimally invasive approaches include:

  • Less pain
  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery time

Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons offer the latest minimally invasive treatment options for mitral valve disease, including:

  • Right chest approach mitral valve repair (“mini-mitral”). Mitral valve repair surgery can be performed during a procedure called a right mini-thoracotomy, or “mini-mitral.” During a mini-mitral, your surgeon will make a three-inch incision between your ribs on the right side of your chest and use special surgical instruments to access and repair your mitral valve.
  • Intercostal surgical valve replacement (iSVR). Using the iSVR procedure, your surgeon can repair or replace your mitral valve by accessing your heart through the space between your ribs — and without dividing any major muscle groups, ribs, or cartilage.
  • MitraClip®. MitraClip treats MR using a catheter-like tube that is threaded through your femoral vein in your leg and into your heart. After the tube is in place, your doctor will use the MitraClip device to clip the leaflets of your mitral valve together, which helps to prevent the backflow of blood into your heart.
  • Transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement (TMVR)– Our structural heart team is involved in numerous clinical trials testing the latest advances in minimally invasive procedures for repair and replacement.

What happens during mitral valve surgery?

Depending on the type of procedure you are having, you may be placed under general anesthesia or connected to a heart-lung bypass machine that will take over the function of your heart and lungs during your operation.

If you are having mitral valve repair surgery, your doctor will provide you with more detail about the approach he or she plans to use before surgery. The specific approach your doctor recommends will depend on your condition.

During mitral valve replacement surgery, your damaged valve will be cut out, and the new valve will be sewn into place. Your doctor may perform a minimally invasive procedure or an open-chest surgery, depending on your condition.

What can I expect after mitral valve surgery?

When the procedure is completed, you will be moved to recovery for observation and monitoring. Your doctor will provide more information about your recovery and your hospital stay.

How long does it take to recover after mitral valve surgery?

Most otherwise healthy patients continue to lead active, normal lives after mitral valve surgery. Your doctor will provide more information about your recovery and will let you know when you can resume your normal activities.

If you receive a mechanical mitral valve replacement, you will need to take blood-thinning medication after mitral valve surgery. You should follow your doctor’s instructions and go to all of your follow-up appointments.

Need more information?

Call the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at 1-855-275-6478

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Our Providers


UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Brady Building
205 South Front Street
4th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17104

Phone: 717-231-8555
Fax: 717-231-8568   

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (formerly Cardiac Consultants)
1697 Crown Avenue
Suite 100
Lancaster, PA 17601

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
12 Saint Paul Drive
Suite 205
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Adult Cardiology: 717-217-6881
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-217-6889

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Outpatient Services at UPMC Memorial
1703 Innovation Drive
Suite 4120
York, PA 17408

Heart and Vascular: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

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