Valve Repair or Replacement (Mitral Valve Surgery & TAVI)

Heart valve surgery is used to treat damaged or diseased heart valves.

There are four valves in the heart and each is responsible for pumping blood in the right direction around the body. When the valves fail to open properly, they can obstruct blood flow. This is known as valve narrowing or stenosis. When they fail to open properly, blood can leak backwards. This is called leaky valve or regurgitation.

Depending on the extent of damage to the valve and the affect it is having on the heart, two types of surgery is available:

  • Valve repair: This is usually used on mitral valves that leak but are not severely damaged
  • Valve replacement: This involves replacing the diseased valve with a mechanical valve or animal tissue valve

Techniques offered at RB&HH

Royal Brompton and Harefield Specialist Care offers the following techniques in heart valve repair and replacement surgery:

Mitral Valve Surgery

Mitral valve surgery is performed to treat stenosis (narrowing) or regurgitation (leakage) of the mitral valve.

We offer minimally invasive mitral valve surgery to eligible patients to reduce pain, scarring and recovery time.

  • Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery: This involves using specially designed telescopic instruments to perform the operation via a small incision on the right side of the chest. It may be necessary to make another small incision in the groin to allow the placement of a tube (cannula) to control the blood flow to the heart during the operation.
  • MitraClip’ procedure  – To treat mitral regurgitation, we also offer a less invasive form of mitral valve, whereby  the mitral valve is repaired percutaneously (“through the skin”) via the groin using a transcatheter (thin flexible tube).

A typical hospital stay following mitral valve surgery is 7 to 10 days. The benefits of surgery include an improvement of symptoms relating to mitral regurgitation or stenonos (heart failure and shortness of breath).  However, as with any operation, there is a degree of risk. There is a small risk of stroke, kidney disease, bleeding and sternal wound infection. There is also a risk of developing Atrial fibrillation (a type of heart rhythm in which the heart beats quickly and irregularly)

Aortic Valve Surgery

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) involves inserting an artificial heart valve inside the narrowed aortic valve using a catheter. The valve consists of a metal frame (stent) and the outer lining of a cow’s heart. The stent, with the valve inside, is inserted into your body through a catheter via an artery either in your leg, arm or chest. The cardiologist will then expand the new valve open inside your aortic valve, using both x-ray and transoeophageal pictures for guidance. Your old valve will therefore not be removed but will be used to anchor the new valve in place.

After the procedure you will be taken to the intensive care unit or the recovery unit for observation. Length of hospital stay is usually 1-2 weeks.

Consultants linked to treatment:

Harefield Hospital

Brompton Hospital

Location where service is offered:

Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital

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Case Studies

Patient Video: Aortic Valve Replacement

Heart patient, Trudi Posner, 79, shares her story of having an aortic valve replacement at Harefield Hospital under the private care of consultant surgeon, Mr Mohamed Amrani.

Patient Video: Pacemaker fitting for arrhythmia

John shares his story about having treatment at Harefield Hospital, under the care of Consultant, Dr David Jones.