Minimal Incision Valve Surgery (MIVS)MIVS at UT Medical Center.

An estimated 81.1 million people suffer from cardiovascular disease in the United States.

Minimal incision valve surgery enables cardiac surgeons to perform a wide range of minimally invasive procedures through small openings (“ports”) in the spaces between the ribs, eliminating the need for a full sternotomy. MIVS is designed to offer patients an option for valve surgery that is equivalent to traditional open-chest heart valve surgery.

Mitral valve disease is under-diagnosed and under treated in the United States. No medical treatments have been proven to prevent or delay the disease process in aortic valve leaflets, and severe aortic valve disease often goes untreated. Currently, both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients who meet ACC/AHA guidelines are untreated. Only 40 – 57% are being treated surgically today. Minimally invasive valve surgery (MIVS) can achieve great results, comparable to open chest valve surgery. MIVS also includes these additional benefits:

The Benefits of Minimally Incision Valve Surgery
  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activities
  • Less scarring and improved cosmetic results
  • Less risk of complications
  • Greater satisfaction

Mitral Valve Surgical Approaches

With mitral valve, surgeons do one of two things to the valve:

  • Repair - place a ring around the valve to help stabilize the valve leaflets (primary approach)
  • Replacement - remove the damaged valve completely and replace with a new valve (either mechanical or tissue)

Depending on the severity of the regurgitation, a repair can very often be performed instead of a full valve replacement.

What does a heart valve do?

Your heart is a powerful muscle that is designed to keep blood moving through every part of your body. It continually pumps blood that comes from the lungs, where it picks up oxygen, and delivers it to the rest of the body. When the blood returns to the heart after delivering the oxygen, the heart pumps it back to the lungs to pick up more oxygen. For this process to work efficiently, blood must move freely and in only one direction. Your heart valves open to permit blood to move forward, and then close to prevent blood from moving backward. Blood is pumped through two valves as it enters the heart and two valves as it exits. As the blood enters the heart, the mitral and tricuspid valves open and close to control blood flow between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. On its way out of the heart, blood passes through the pulmonary and aortic valves.

Your heart and heart valves repeat this process about 219 thousand times per day, 80 million times a year, which adds up to 5 or 6 billion times during the average lifetime.

What is valve disease?

Several things can go wrong with the heart’s hardworking valves. In approximately 4 to 5% of the general population, a valve wears out and begins to leak, or fails to open completely. When a worn-out valve fails to close properly or leaks (prolapses), blood flows backward (regurgitates), and the heart must work harder to pump the same amount of blood. Most often, it is the mitral valve that leaks. Another common problem with heart valves comes with age. Built up calcium deposits may harden and narrow a valve. This narrowing (stenosis) keeps the valve from opening completely and reduces the amount of blood that can flow through. The risk of blood clots increases and the heart has to work harder. This type of problem generally affects the aortic valve. Some types of infection may also lead to problems with a heart valve. The bacteria that cause rheumatic fever can damage the heart valves, and an infection called bacterial endocarditis can deform or damage heart valves. Sometimes, a person can be born with a defective heart valve, or one of the valves may even be missing.

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