In mitral valve disease, the mitral valve, which is located between your left heart chambers (left atrium and left ventricle), doesn't work properly.

Types of mitral valve disease include:

  • Mitral valve regurgitation. In this condition, the flaps (leaflets) of the mitral valve don't close tightly, causing blood to leak backward into the left atrium of your heart. If not treated, it can result in heart muscle damage.

    The most common cause of blood leakage is mitral valve prolapse, in which the leaflets bulge back into the left atrium as your heart contracts.

  • Mitral valve stenosis. In this condition, the flaps of the mitral valve become thick or stiff, and they may fuse together. This results in a narrowed valve opening and reduced blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists) and heart and blood vessel surgery (cardiovascular surgeons) have experience in evaluating and treating people with mitral valve disease and other types of heart valve disease.

    Mayo doctors evaluate and treat more than 17,000 people with mitral valve disease each year.

  • Collaboration. Mayo Clinic cardiologists work together as a multidisciplinary team with cardiovascular surgeons and doctors in other areas to provide the most appropriate care to meet your needs.
  • Treatment expertise. Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons have expertise treating mitral valve disease with procedures including mitral valve repair, mitral valve replacement and other types of heart valve surgery. Doctors and surgeons at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, have experience treating children with mitral valve disease.

    Surgeons also perform minimally invasive heart surgery, which involves smaller incisions that often result in less pain and a quicker recovery.

  • Research. Mayo Clinic doctors study new diagnosis and treatment options for mitral valve disease and other heart valve diseases and conduct clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for heart and heart surgery.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

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Treatment for mitral valve disease depends on the severity of your condition and if your condition is becoming worse. Your treatment may include observation, medications or surgery.

Your doctor may recommend that you have surgery to repair or replace your mitral valve. Mitral valve surgery may be performed during open-heart surgery or minimally invasive heart surgery.

Mayo doctors have expertise and experience in performing minimally invasive heart surgery and other types of heart valve surgery to treat mitral valve disease.

In minimally invasive surgery, your surgeon and surgical team perform the procedure through small incisions in your chest.

Minimally invasive heart surgery to treat mitral valve disease includes:

  • Robot-assisted heart surgery. In robot-assisted heart surgery, a surgeon uses robotic arms to duplicate specific maneuvers used in open-heart surgeries.

    In this procedure, your surgeon sits at a remote console and views your heart in a magnified high-definition 3-D view on a video monitor. Your surgeon's hand movements are translated precisely to the robotic arms at the operating table, which move like a human wrist. At the operating table, a surgical team assists with the procedure and changes the surgical instruments attached to the robotic arms.

  • Thoracoscopic surgery. In thoracoscopic surgery, your surgeon inserts a long, thin tube (thoracoscope) containing a tiny high-definition video camera into a small incision in your chest. Your surgeon conducts the procedure using long instruments inserted through small incisions between your ribs.

People who have minimally invasive heart surgery may have quicker recovery times and less pain than those who have open-heart surgery. However, there are risks of complications, such as infection and bleeding. Your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and the risks of minimally invasive surgery and determine whether you're a candidate for the procedure.

Other minimally invasive procedures for mitral valve disease continue to be studied, such as catheter procedures to replace or repair mitral valves.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular and thoracic surgery treat people with mitral valve disease.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiothoracic surgery treat people with mitral valve disease.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular surgery treat people with mitral valve disease.

For appointments or more information, call the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at 507-284-3994 or the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at 507-255-2000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

No physician referral is necessary. Cardiologists generally can see most people within two weeks after their appointment requests, and often cardiologists can see people within a week or less after the appointment request. People with urgent issues usually can be seen within 24 hours after their requests. In emergencies, people are transferred directly to inpatient hospital care.

Doctors trained in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery treat children with mitral valve disease at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. Children needing hospitalization receive care at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists), heart and blood vessel surgery (cardiovascular surgeons), and others study new diagnostic tests and potential treatments for people with mitral valve disease. Mayo Clinic researchers also have studied the most appropriate timing for mitral valve surgery for people with mitral valve disease. Read more about research in the Cardiovascular Research Center.

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on mitral valve disease on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Sep. 03, 2014