Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement (MVR)


Mitral valve replacement surgery is a surgical procedure performed to treat a heart condition called mitral valve disease, which occurs when the mitral valve of the heart becomes damaged or diseased. The mitral valve controls blood flow between the heart's left atrium and left ventricle. When the mitral valve doesn't function properly, it can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. Surgery may be needed if the valve doesn’t fully open or fully close. When the valve is too narrow, it can make it hard for blood to enter. This can cause it to back up, causing force in the lungs. When the valve doesn’t close appropriately, blood can drip back into the lungs. This can be as a result of a congenital defect, infection, or a degenerative disease.

When is a mitral valve replacement needed?

Usually, the decision to undergo a mitral valve replacement surgery is based on a doctor’s recommendation, the severity of the patient’s condition or the presence of other medical conditions, factors such as age, and the risks and complications of the surgery in reference to the patient’s state. Mitral valve replacement surgery is recommended for people with severe mitral valve disease who are experiencing symptoms or complications such as heart failure or arrhythmia.

A person may require a mitral valve replacement surgery if they have mitral valve disease, which can be caused by several factors. Some common reasons for mitral valve disease include:

  1. Mitral Valve Prolapse: This condition occurs when the flaps of the mitral valve do not close properly, causing blood to leak back into the heart. Over time, this can cause the heart to become enlarged and weakened.
  2. Mitral Valve Stenosis: This condition occurs when the mitral valve becomes narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
  3. Mitral Valve Regurgitation: This condition occurs when the mitral valve does not close properly, causing blood to flow back into the heart. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.
  4. Rheumatic Fever: This condition is caused by a bacterial infection that can damage the mitral valve. Over time, the damage can become severe enough to require valve replacement surgery.

What is done during mitral valve replacement surgery?

Heart valve replacement surgical treatment is carried out under general anaesthesia with methods that are either conventional or minimally invasive.

During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's chest to access the heart. The diseased mitral valve is then removed, and a new artificial valve is implanted in its place. The artificial valve can be made from either mechanical or biological materials, with each option having its own advantages and disadvantages.

Mechanical valves are made of durable materials and can last a long time, but patients must take blood-thinning medication for the rest of their lives to prevent blood clots from forming around the valve. Biological valves, on the other hand, are made from human or animal tissue and do not require lifelong blood-thinning medication. However, they may not last as long as mechanical valves.

For a surgeon to efficiently remove the diseased valve and replace it with a new one, your heart must be still. You’ll be positioned on a bypass machine that keeps blood circulating through your body and your lungs functioning during surgery.

 What happens during the recovery process after the procedure?

The majority of heart valve replacement recipients remain in the hospital for approximately five to one week. If your surgery was minimally invasive, you might be discharged earlier. Medical staff will give you pain medication as required and constantly observe your blood pressure, breathing and heart function throughout the first few days after a heart valve replacement.

Full recovery may take some weeks or up to several months, based on your rate of healing and the type of surgery that was done. Infection is the primary risk directly after surgery, so keeping your incisions sterile is of extreme importance.

Always contact your doctor immediately if you have symptoms that indicate infection, such as fever chills, tenderness or swelling at the incision site, or increased drainage from the incision site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.     How much is Open Heart Surgery in Nigeria?

There are various kinds of open-heart surgeries. Some surgeries are meant for valve replacement and some for congenital repairs. A bypass or CABG is done to bypass a clogged artery supplying the blood to heart muscles. The cost of each surgery is different and can only be estimated after proper evaluation of the patient at the hospital. Various factors like gender, age, type of surgery etc. play an important role in determining the cost of the surgery.

2.     Who is the best heart surgeon in Nigeria?

There are no such criteria which determine the efficiency of a cardiac surgeon. Most of the surgeons are good in Nigeria and can operate with good quality results within a standard and appropriately equipped operation theatre. Surjen however connects you with the best cardiosurgeons in state of the arts facilities for your surgery.

3.     How many cardiothoracic surgeons are in Nigeria?

An estimated number of 80 cardiothoracic surgeons are there in Nigeria. However, it is wise to get the figures verified by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Cardiac Society.

4. What are the risks and complications of mitral valve replacement?

Mitral valve replacement is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged or diseased mitral valve with a new valve. While it can improve the symptoms and quality of life for many patients, there are risks and potential complications associated with this procedure, including:

  1. Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after the surgery is a possible complication that may require transfusion or additional surgery.
  2. Infection: Infection of the incision site, new valve, or bloodstream can occur, and may require antibiotic treatment.
  3. Blood clots: Blood clots can form around the new valve or in other parts of the body, which can cause stroke, heart attack, or other complications.
  4. Arrhythmias: Irregular heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation, may occur after surgery and can require medication or additional procedures to manage.
  5. Heart failure: In rare cases, heart failure may occur as a result of the surgery, which can be life-threatening and require further treatment.
  6. Prosthetic valve dysfunction: Prosthetic valves may malfunction, leading to leakage or blockage, and may require additional surgery.
  7. Death: Although rare, there is a risk of death associated with any surgery, including mitral valve replacement.

5. Would you require follow-up appointments after the procedure?

Follow-up appointments are necessary and will assist your doctor in knowing when you’re ready to resume your everyday activities. Ensure you have a support system in place for the time following your surgery. Ask family members and friends to help you out around the house and take you to medical appointments as you recover.


DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by

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