Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement

The mitral valve consists of two triangular-shaped flaps leaflets that connect to the heart muscle. When the valve ages or is damaged, it doesn’t close properly, which can cause blood to flow backward (regurgitation).

Our surgeons can repair the defective valve by reconnecting the valve leaflets or removing excess valve tissue to help it function appropriately. If the valve is severely diseased or damaged, it must be replaced. Valve replacement is also used to treat any valve disease that is life-threatening.

Trans-sternal Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement

A trans-sternal, or open, mitral valve surgery is a traditional approach to valve repair. The surgery is called “open” because it uses an incision through the sternum (chest) to expose the heart.

Types of repair include:

  • Ring annuloplasty. The ring-like part of the valve is tightened by placing a flexible ring around the damaged valve.
  • Complex valve repair. The damaged leaflets of the valve or muscles near the valve are surgically repaired.

Surgical repair of the mitral valve is often possible, but sometimes the valve damage is so severe, it needs to be replaced.

Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement

Open mitral valve repair or replacement procedures may come with more risks but are a viable alternative for patients that will not benefit from a minimally invasive surgical approach. For some, a transcatheter mitral valve repair called a MitraClip is a less-invasive treatment option that can bring life-changing results.


During a MitraClip procedure, doctors place a catheter (thin tube) through a large vein in the groin to reach the heart. A clip is then placed onto the center of the mitral valve, which allows the valve to open and close on either side of the clip. The procedure reduces the amount of blood that flows backward through the valve (regurgitation).

The average patient typically stays in the hospital one to five days following the procedure, depending on their recovery and overall health. Most patients experience an improved quality of life and require fewer hospitalizations after MitraClip surgery.