Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve?
To treat mitral valve regurgitation surgically, the options are to repair or replace the mitral valve.
Repair of the heart
valve may be recommended if it is likely that the valve can be repaired and that the repair will last a long time.
Valve replacement may be recommended if your mitral valve is seriously damaged and cannot be repaired.
The decision about whether to repair or replace a
valve is based on many things, including your general health, the
condition of the damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and
the expected benefits of surgery. In some cases, the decision clearly may be in
favor of repair or in favor of replacement.
Repair for mitral valve regurgitation may be recommended based on a few things. These include whether the valve can be repaired successfully.
Repair is more successful if there is not a lot of
damage to certain areas of the mitral valve flaps (leaflets) or to the tough
fibers that control movement of the mitral valve leaflets (chordae tendineae).
Mitral valve repair is usually preferred if your valve is suitable
for reconstruction and the surgeon has the appropriate level of experience and
The advantages of mitral valve repair include the
Examples of serious damage or complicated conditions that might
lead to mitral valve replacement include:
Replacement surgery is usually preferred if you have a hard, calcified
mitral valve ring (annulus) or widespread damage to the valve and surrounding
The disadvantages of mitral valve replacement include the
If you choose mitral valve replacement, your surgeon will preserve as
much of the valve as possible. Doing so provides a greater chance of
success after surgery. Keeping the valve's base intact reduces the amount of
foreign structures to which the heart must grow accustomed after replacement
A transcatheter procedure is a new way to repair a mitral valve. It does not require open-heart surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses catheters in blood vessels to insert a device in the valve. The device helps keep blood from leaking backward. This may relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. This procedure is available in a small number of hospitals. And it is not right for everyone. It might be done for a person who can't have surgery or for a person who has a high risk of serious problems from surgery.footnote 1
A percutaneous device (MitraClip) for mitral regurgitation (2013). Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 55(1432): 103.
Other Works Consulted
Nishimura RA, et al. (2014). 2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, published online March 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000031. Accessed May 1, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJohn A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.