Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair vs. Replacement
By reconstructing the original valve structure, surgeons can better retain the heart's natural shape and function.
Patients who undergo mitral valve replacement must take blood thinners for the rest of their lives. Blood thinners can cause problems, and are best avoided if possible. These medications are not required in patients who have their valves repaired.
Studies have shown that 15 years after surgery, 82-87 percent of repaired valves are still working, compared with 72-82 percent of replacement valves. In addition, replacement valves from animal donors often wear out, and need to be replaced after 10-12 years.
The national average mortality rate at the time of surgery for mitral valve repair ranges from 1-2 percent, compared with 5-7 percent for replacement. (Data Source: Society for Thoracic Surgeons Fall 2004 Report Executive Summary)
Even for patients who already are in congestive heart failure, mitral valve repair will increase quality of life.