He adds that because this surgery is more technically demanding than an open-heart repair, "We are uncertain if this approach is appropriate for hospitals that only occasionally perform mitral valve surgery or for surgeons who have not yet had a lot of experience with mitral valve repair," says Dr. Gammie.
"This minimally invasive approach to mitral valve repair exemplifies the commitment of our faculty physicians to provide the best care for their patients," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Very few surgeons across the United States perform this complex, small-incision procedure, yet the long term benefit to patients is unquestionably superior to valve replacement."
The mitral valve (named after the miter, a distinctive cap that bishops wear) is the "inflow valve" for the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart. Blood flows from the lungs, where it picks up oxygen, across the open mitral valve and into the left ventricle. When the heart squeezes, the two leaflets of the mitral valve snap shut and prevent blood from backing up to the lungs. Blood is directed out of the heart to the rest of the body through another valve, the aortic valve.
|Contact: Bill Seiler|
University of Maryland Medical Center