Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mitral Valves

You know what the mitral valve is, yes? It's that all important part that allows your heart to closes when it's pumping and then opens to let more blood in to be pumped and so on. And it's working 40-100 times a minute every hour of your life so you can imagine that it's one of those parts of the body which might go wrong.

Now there's several ways of doing this, several different forms of mitral valve surgery. Not just the difference between the old style, of cracking open the chest and then then diving in with both hands, and the new which is minimally invasive by laparoscopy.

But further than that, in recent years there's been a change in what is actually done once the surgeon gets in there. It used to be that the basic thought was mitral valve replacement. Hey, it's going wrong so let's put a new one in.

Nowadays though there's a move to mitral valve repair: let's only replace it if we have to. The benefit of this appraoch (where it can be used) is that the patient (that's you or I= doesn't then have to take blood thinning drugs for the rest of their (our) lives.

Fewer drugs sounds good to me.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Hey Tim,

Thanks for all the great information on mitral valves.

As a double heart valve replacement patient (2005), I continue to look for good information about heart valve replacement surgery and the like.