Valve repair and replacement

UF Health thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons offer valve repair and replacements for mitral valves, aortic valves, tricuspid valves and pulmonary valves.

Despite the growing body of evidence favoring mitral valve repair for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe mitral regurgitation, nearly 50 percent of all cases in the United States still are treated with mitral valve replacement. UF Health cardiac surgeons successfully employ valve repair surgery in more than 90 percent of patients presenting with mitral regurgitation without mitral stenosis.

When doing a repair, surgeons preserve all the natural structures of the heart, including the chordae tendinae that suspend the mitral valve to the papillary muscles that make the valve work properly. This ultimately results in better long-term outcomes, quality of life and longer lives for patients.

By avoiding mechanical replacements whenever possible, surgeons also bypass the need to prescribe patients life-long regimens of Coumadin or other blood thinners. Since mechanical mitral valves require high levels of Coumadin, patients treated with valve repair are at a lower risk for bleeding or clotting events than patients with mechanical valve replacement. This can be a problem in the long term. If patients with valve replacement do not properly regulate their Coumadin, they constantly will oscillate between increased risk of bleeding and risk of stroke.

Because UF Health is an academic medical center, the multidisciplinary UF Health cardiac team is better equipped than most other centers to deal with mitral valve repair, with easier access to advanced technologies, techniques and training.