Mitral stenosis is a condition in which the mitral valve that is narrowed or does not open completely, and therefore obstructs blood from moving through it normally.
Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve leaks, allowing blood to flow backwards through the heart and into the lungs. This condition can cause shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, and pain.
Mitral valve prolapse is a relatively common and benign condition in which the mitral valve bulges a little bit so that the leaflets do not close properly. This allows some blood to leak backwards into the ventricle.
Severe valve damage or prolapse means the valve must be replaced with a brand new heart valve.
Two kinds of valves can be used for replacement:
- Mechanical valves are usually made from materials such as plastic, carbon, or metal. Mechanical valves are strong, and they last a long time. Because blood tends to stick to mechanical valves and create blood clots, patients with these valves will need to take blood-thinning medicines (called anticoagulants) for the rest of their lives.
- Biological valves are made from animal tissue (xenograft) or taken from the human tissue of a donated heart (allograft or homograft). Sometimes, a patient’s own tissue can be used for valve replacement (autograft). Patients with biological valves usually do not need to take blood-thinning medicines. These valves are not as strong as mechanical valves, though, and they may need to be replaced every 10 years or so.
You and your doctor will decide which type of valve is best for you.
If your heart valve becomes damaged or diseased, you may have the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath with exertion
- Swelling in the legs and feet
- Chest pain
- Edema (swelling) of the feet, ankles, or abdomen (belly)
- Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
- There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend heart valve replacement surgery.
When mitral stenosis is very severe or mitral valve prolapsed and causing multiple symptoms and medications are no more effective, then the best option in this situation is
mitral valve replacement surgery (MVR). With MVR the problem (symptoms) can be resolved/corrected effectively and this can improve the patient's physical condition.
Mitral valve replacement is generally safe. However, as with any surgery or procedure, complications can occur. Possible risks associated with treatment include:
- Bleeding during or after treatment
- Blood clots that can cause heart attack, stroke, or lung problems (pulmonary embolism)
- Infection at the surgical site
- Infection in the new valve (endocarditis)
- Breathing problems
- Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
- The repaired or replaced valve doesn't work correctly
- Bad reaction to anaesthetics
Although mitral valve prolapse is usually a lifelong disorder, many people with this condition never have symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgical treatment if you have severe mitral valve regurgitation with or without symptoms. Severe mitral valve regurgitation can eventually cause heart failure, preventing your heart from effectively pumping blood. If regurgitation goes on too long, your heart may be too weak for surgery.
Yes, Severe Mitral Stenosis is Life Threatening and requires immediate Treatment. Patients may live with mitral stenosis for many years during a latent, asymptomatic period, even before symptoms of the disease develop and present. However, after patients begin experiencing symptoms, it is urgent they receive treatment.
A mitral valve replacement is a major operation and occasionally the complications can be fatal. However, this risk is far lower than the risk associated with leaving severe mitral valve disease untreated. Overall, the risk of dying as a result of the procedure is estimated to be < 5>
The Indian Cardiac Surgeons are not only well competent to heart valve replacement surgery but also experts in the other latest cardiac surgical procedures and treatments. CABG, angioplasty, angiography, heart transplantation, treadmill exercise testing, Holster monitoring, nuclear studies (MUGA and thallium scanning), echocardiography, cardiac catheterizations, arterial switch operations, Fontan and Fontan type procedures, robotic cardiac surgery, transmyocardial laser revascularization are some of the procedures that the Indian cardiologists are skilled in.
Generally, the mitral valve replacement surgery takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
Once the surgeon has finished the replacement, the heart is then started again, and you are disconnected from the heart-lung machine.
You can expect to stay in the hospital for 7-8days, including at least 1 to 3 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Recovery after valve surgery may take a long time; depending on how healthy you were before the operation and how fast your body recovers.
The normal recovery time after mitral valve surgery is usually six to eight weeks, and it takes up to six months to feel the full benefits of the surgery.
The cost of mitral valve replacement surgery varies from 5000 to 7000$ USD. It depends on the duration of your hospital stay and the type of facility that you approach for the procedure.
The patient of mitral valve replacement surgery (open heart surgery) can usually fly after 4-6 weeks (longer if they have had pulmonary complications).
Call your local hospital/doctor right away if you have any of these:
- Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or chills (these may be a sign of infection)
- Redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage from the incision site or any of the catheter sites
- Increase in pain around the incision site
- Trouble breathing
- Increased swelling in the legs or abdomen
- Easy bruising
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Rapid or irregular pulse
- Weakness in the arms and legs