Questions for Patients and Doctors

Mitral Valve Repair

The best available surgical treatment for mitral valve prolapse is repair. Mitral valve repair offers a number of significant, life-long benefits as compared to valve replacement. These include a lower risk of mortality, a better chance of long-term survival and more freedom from reoperation:

Mitral Valve Surgery: Repair vs. Replacement

Repair Replace Potential Benefit
Reduced risk of surgical complications 1
Higher long-term survival 2, 3, 4, 5
Improves function and strength of the heart
More freedom from re-operation 6, 7
No need for life-long blood thinner medication
Shorter hospital stay


The most common way to repair a valve through surgery is with sternotomy – cutting through the breastbone and opening the ribs. Cutting through the body’s natural protective structure for the heart can cause significant trauma, prolong healing time and increase your risk for serious complications and even mortality. Moreover, an open approach doesn’t always provide the visualization and access necessary to complete a repair. In fact, the majority of patients who undergo sternotomy receive an artificial valve.8

Learn More

Read about what is potentially the most effective, least invasive approach to mitral valve repair surgery – da Vinci ® Mitral Valve Repair.

  1. Thourani VH, Weintraub WS, Guyton RA, et al. Outcomes and Long-Term Survival for Patients Undergoing Mitral Valve Repair Versus Replacement.Circulation. 2003;108:298-304 ( Emory University Atlanta)
  2. Enriquez-Sarano M, Schaff HV, Orszulak TA, Tajik AJ, Bailey KR, Frye RL: Valve repair improves the outcome of surgery for mitral regurgitation: a long-term study. Circulation. 1995; 91:1022-8
  3. Enriquez-Sarano M, Schaff H, Frye R. Mitral Regurgitation: What Causes the Leakage Is Fundamental to the Outcome of Valve Repair. Circulation 2003;108:253-256.(Mayo Clinic Rochester)
  4. Gillinov AM, Wierup PN, Blackstone EH, et al. Is Repair Preferable to Replacement for Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation? J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2001 Dec; 122(6):1125-41 ( Cleveland Clinic)
  5. Grossi E, Goldberg J, LaPietra A, et al. Ischemic mitral valve reconstruction and replacement: Comparison of long term survival and complications. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2001 Dec; 122(6):1107-24 (NYU)
  6. Rodgers, E. Heart valve repair or replacement for mitral valve regurgitation or prolapse. WebMD. March 10, 2005 Bach DS. Choice of prosthetic heart valves:update for the next generation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Nov 19;42(10):1717-9.
  7. Ruel M, Kulik A, Rubens FD, Bedard P, Masters RG, Pipe AL, Mesana TG. Late incidence and determinants of reoperation in patients with prosthetic heart valves. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2004 Mar;25(3):364-70.
  8. Society for Thoracic Surgeons & Duke Clinical Research Institute. Executive Summary. STS Fall 2005 Report.

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da VinciSurgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System visit

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