Endoscopic approach helps mitral valve patients recover more quickly
Mitral valve surgery, such as mitral valve repair or replacement, may be recommended for conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, mitral valve regurgitation, or mitral valve stenosis. At Lankenau more than 90 percent of mitral valve surgeries are performed endoscopically, a minimally invasive approach involving small incisions (a “keyhole” operation) in the armpit area to obtain access to the heart. During the procedure the surgeon relies on robotic camera technology, which allows for a superior view for the surgeon, and use of robotic arms for even greater precision. Compared to traditional sternotomy (open-chest surgery), endoscopic mitral valve surgery is less risky and also enables patients to recover more quickly.
Endoscopic mitral valve surgery was developed and perfected here at Lankenau by Dr. Scott Goldman and our heart valve surgical team, which performs more than 100 mitral valve surgeries per year. Working together over the past 15 years, we have perfected our surgical approach and developed a high level of expertise as a team. This makes for a very smooth surgery and excellent outcomes for our patients.
At Lankenau Heart Institute more than 90 percent of mitral valve surgeries are performed minimally invasively—which means faster recovery and less pain for our patients.
Recovery from mitral valve surgery
Mitral valve surgery takes several hours. Afterwards you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU), which is where you will wake up. You may remain in the ICU for several days as the physician and nursing staff monitor your condition and progress. You can expect to have tubes in your body to help drain fluid after surgery. You may also need a urine catheter and intravenous (IV) fluids to replenish your body.
The Lankenau mitral valve surgery team performs more than 100 mitral valve surgeries per year compared to most hospitals which average 10 mitral valve surgeries per year.
As with any surgery, there are risks during the surgery itself and afterward, such as blood clots in the legs, infection, bleeding problems and breathing issues. There is also some risk of heart attack, stroke and death. However, for most people that undergo endoscopic mitral valve surgery, there is vast improvement in quality of life and the long-term outlook is positive.