Leaky Mitral Heart Valve? There's A New Repair Technique Available.

June 19, 2017

For those with a leaking mitral heart valve, a new way to repair (rather than replace) it is now possible, thanks to a surgical technique developed by Dr. Sabet Hashim, co-physician-in-chief of the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute.

Heart valve surgery sometimes becomes necessary if a patient experiences valve stenosis (narrowing) or valve regurgitation (leaking). The kind of surgery required depends on the patient's condition and which of the four valves may be affected: aortic, mitral, tricuspid or pulmonary.

"Ischemic mitral regurgitation is a leaky valve that's a result of a heart attack," Dr. Hashim said. "Notoriously, this has been difficult to treat."

Mitral valve replacement "has not worked very well," he stated. "About two-thirds of the patients would have the leak back within a year. And then, they suffer."

At a recent meeting of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Hashim and his team presented the results of a 10-year study that followed 60 patients whose mitral valves were repaired using a surgical innovation that avoids tissue resection during a ring annuloplasty that tightens the valve by sewing a ring (usually metal or cloth) around it. The results were positive.

"Over that whole period of time, only two patients had the leak came back," said Dr. Hashim. "We've proven that this type of repair is durable, and that patients live longer. And they do live better."

The Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute provides a vast array of services designed to keep your heart healthy. Learn more here