About the Mitral Valve

Located on the left side of the heart, the mitral valve is one of four valves that regulates the flow of blood through the heart and out to the rest of the body. Its flaps (called leaflets) open to push blood through the heart and then close again to prevent blood from flowing backward.

Over time, the mitral valve can become overly stiff, which prevents it from fully opening (called stenosis). When this happens, not enough blood can leave the heart to fully nourish cells and tissues throughout the body. In other cases, the valve develops small holes or the leaflets may not close fully, which allows blood to seep backward where it doesn’t belong. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, swollen feet or legs, chest pain, fatigue, and lightheadedness.

“I’m Ready to Live Again.”
After getting a new heart valve, Lois Greene feels like a new person.

Advanced Techniques

Traditional valve repair involves cutting open the breast bone, stopping the heart and placing a patient on a heart lung bypass machine to oxygenate the blood during surgery. Though this approach is life-saving and the best option for some patients, our specialists emphasize advanced, minimally-invasive techniques whenever possible.

These advanced tools allow cardiovascular specialists to use robotics as well as catheter-delivered devices to repair or replace heart valves. By using these tools, surgeons can access the heart by making tiny incisions between the ribs or in the leg, sparing the breastbone and allowing for a swifter recovery.