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Heart Valve Repair or Replacement Surgery

Heart Valve Repair or Replacement

If you or a loved one are suffering from a form of heart valve disease such as valve stenosis (narrowing of the valve) or valve regurgitation (also known as a leaky valve), you may need to have your heart valve repaired or replaced. Heart valve repair or replacement can either be done through a minimally invasive transcatheter procedure or robotically assisted surgery, or through traditional open heart surgery. Your treatment approach will depend on your health, your lifestyle and your particular heart valve issue.

Balloon Valvuloplasty

Percutaneous aortic valvuloplasty is a therapy to alleviate symptoms or a bridge to either surgical or transcatheter aortic valve replacement for patients with degenerative valve disease. 

With this procedure, a balloon dilation catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin and advanced into the heart.  When the catheter reaches the valve, a balloon at the end of the tube is inflated. The balloon widens the valve opening. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the severity of stenosis. Patients are usually awake for these procedures under local anesthesia. 

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair

Percutaneous mitral valve clip therapy (MitraClip) is available to patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation. MitraClip procedures are indicated for patients who are deemed to be poor candidates for open heart surgery.

During the procedure, a catheter using imaging equipment is inserted into the groin and directed through the femoral vein to the affected area of the heart.  The clip is then guided into place and attaches to the leaflets of the mitral valve.  The clip will grasp the leaflets, creating a double orifice, reducing the degree of regurgitation.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

With this procedure, interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons work together to replace a diseased aortic valve with an artificial valve. TAVR may be an option for patients at intermediate, high or extreme risk for open heart surgery.

TAVR involves inserting a catheter through an artery in the leg or chest and advancing it to the heart and your aortic valve. Once in place, the catheter delivers a self-expanding prosthetic valve into the aortic valve. The new valve helps the blood flow properly by fully opening and closing at the correct time. Recovery is significantly faster than traditional open heart surgery.

Spectrum Health is one of the highest volume TAVR centers in Michigan. The experience and high number of procedures we perform translates into high quality care and improved outcomes for patients.

Robotically Assisted Heart Valve Surgery

Robotically assisted heart valve surgery utilizes a robotic surgery system to perform minimally invasive heart valve repair. Your surgeon will control the robot’s movements and special tools via a nearby computer. The robot will make a small incision in the side of your chest and work in between your ribs to perform the surgery. This typically means there is not a need to open your sternum or breastbone. You will need assistance from a heart-lung machine during the surgery to circulate and oxygenate your blood.

The advantages of robotically assisted heart valve surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions with less scarring
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer complications
  • Less bleeding