Mitral Valve Repair For Stenotic Leaflets
Within your heart, the flow of blood is partly controlled by valves. The mitral valve (MV), in particular, can develop serious problems. One of these problems is called stenosis. Below, we'll describe the disorder and explain how mitral valve repair (MVR) can be used to correct it.
Mitral Valve Stenosis Explained
Your heart is comprised of four individual chambers. Two upper chambers are called atria; two lower chambers are called ventricles. Your MV is located between your left atria and ventricle. Each of the four chambers contract as an electrical impulse spreads across their surface. When this impulse spreads across the left atrium, the chamber contracts and pumps blood into the ventricle beneath. As the blood moves between these two chambers, it flows through the mitral valve.
The MV has two leaflets, or flaps. Normally, when the left atrium contracts, the flaps open to allow blood to flow through. With stenosis, the opening is narrowed. The leaflets fail to open wide enough to allow the atrium to empty properly. This can lead to a number of side effects.
What Causes The Condition?
Nearly all cases of mitral valve stenosis result from rheumatic fever, an illness that typically afflicts children. If it is not treated, infection can cause scarlet fever. This is very rare in western cultures because medications can easily control the infection. However, many older people developed rheumatic fever as children before such medications were available. Some of them suffer from a stenotic MV.
This condition can also be congenital. If a baby is born with the disorder, it must be resolved quickly. Otherwise, the infant will likely die within a couple of years.
Possible Symptoms Of The Disease
Symptoms of MV stenosis depend on the severity of the disease. Patients who suffer a mild case may not experience or notice any symptoms at all. On the other hand, severe cases can cause shortness of breath, a bloody cough, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, and even heart failure.
How The Disorder Is Treated
In mild cases of mitral valve stenosis, doctors will usually recommend medications to help minimize the symptoms. These may include anticoagulants if blood has pooled in the left atrium since pooling can lead to blood clots. If the medications cannot control the patient's symptoms, more aggressive treatment is necessary. Physicians will either repair or replace the MV, though repairing it is the preferred approach. Mitral valve repair for stenosis is typically performed with balloon valvuloplasty. A small balloon is affixed to the tip of a catheter, which is inserted in the groin into a blood vessel. It is guided to the right side of the heart where the surgeon makes a hole in the septum (the wall that separates the left and right sides). The catheter is threaded through the hole to the stenotic mitral valve.
The doctor will guide the catheter so the balloon is positioned within the valve's restricted opening. He or she will then inflate and deflate the balloon several times. This pushes the stenotic leaflets apart, allowing blood to flow through more easily. The technique requires approximately an hour to complete. Once the procedure is finished, the patient will normally need to spend several hours recovering before being released from the hospital.
It's worth noting that balloon valvuloplasty, while valuable for addressing a stenotic mitral valve, does not actually cure the underlying disorder. Instead, it minimizes the symptoms and thereby, prevents serious side effects (i.e. heart failure). For many patients, that may be enough to dramatically improve their quality of life.
Find the right doctor for mitral valve repair. Early diagnosis can lead to successful results. Visit http://www.cvtsa.com for more information
9 May 2010 by LoreenC 357