Introduction and General Data
Mitral valve is a valve that is present between the left heart atrium and ventricle. In case of the condition known as mitral valve prolapse this valve does not function properly and the blood returns back from the left heart ventricle into the left heart atrium. Initially the condition is treated with certain medications. In advanced stages only the surgery can repair the damage of the mitral valve. There are two surgical approaches in case of mitral valve surgery.
Treatment Options and Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse
Initial therapy includes medications. These are given as long as the symptoms are kept under control. However, in case that symptoms of the disease intensify the surgery is the only way to help the patient. If one feels chest pain or is extremely exhausted after certain physical activities this may point to progression of the disease. Additional symptoms that are connected to the progression of the disease include coughing and abnormalities of heartbeat. Even the shortness of breath during rest can point to advanced stage of the disease.
Surgery for Mitral Valve Prolapse
Apart from the previously mentioned the surgery of mitral valves is indicated if a doctor wants to avoid certain complications that are related to the prolapse of this valve. Heart failure is only one of the possible complications that can be successfully prevented with surgery. Another possible complication of mitral valve prolapse is endocarditis.
Before the very surgical procedure the patient needs to be well prepared. In some cases it is required from the patient to stop smoking. Smoking may be potential cause of breathing difficulties during and after the surgery and is related to increased blood coagulation. Additionally, patients are advised to report all the medications they are taking as this way potential complications regarding general anesthesia can be easily avoided. Those patients who are under infection of any kind are not operated until the infection is gone.
Patient is hospitalized a day prior the surgery. He/ she is given appropriate advice of preoperative dietary regime.
The surgery for mitral valve prolapse is done under general anesthesia. Depending on the damage of the valve the surgeon will either repair the damaged valve or replace it. The repair is done in minor damage. Total replacement is conducted in case that the valve is damaged to great extent. In this case the replacement can be done either with the mechanic valve or with specific animal tissue. The problem with biological valve obtained from animals is that it will need to be replaced after certain period of time. Mechanic valve can function properly for many years.
In majority of patients the recovery time is rather long. After the surgery a patient is transferred into the intensive care unit and the whole hospitalizations lasts approximately a week.
The patient can return to regular activities between three and six months after the surgery.