If you are in need of a mitral valve repair, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive cardiac surgery. At Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute in Sacramento, our expert cardiac surgeons use the most advanced technologies available today, including robotic surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System, as an alternative to open surgery.
Robotic valve replacement offers many potential benefits, including:
- Lower risk of major cardiac event during first year after surgery
- High likelihood of your mitral valve being repaired versus replaced
- Potential for a better clinical outcome
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery
- Less blood loss
- Less pain
- Less scarring
- Less risk of infection
- Less risk of post-operative complications
What is Heart Valve Surgery?
Heart valve surgery is a treatment option for certain heart valve problems. During heart valve surgery, one or more valves are repaired or replaced.
- Repair means that the valve is mended to help it work better.
- Replacement means your diseased valve is removed and a new valve is inserted in its place.
Whether a valve will be repaired or replaced can only be decided once surgery has begun. Your surgeon will talk with you about his or her plans for surgery and any other procedures you may need.
What to Expect During Robotic Valve Surgery
For robotic-assisted valve surgery, incisions made in your chest are often much smaller than those made for traditional surgery. Here's how the surgery is performed:
- To get to your heart, one or more incisions must be made in your chest.
- If your heart's movements must be stopped during your valve surgery, your blood will be kept flowing by a heart-lung machine. Your surgeon will connect your body to the machine through two tubes. One tube carries blood from your heart. The other tube returns blood to your arterial system. These tubes are inserted through blood vessels in your groin. Once the valve surgery is done, your heart and lungs take over again.
- To reach the valve, an incision is made in your heart or aorta. If the valve can be mended, the needed repairs are done.
- If the valve must be replaced, part or all of the damaged valve and its supportive structures may be removed.
- The right-sized replacement valve is selected, positioned in the valve opening, and sewn firmly into place.
- The incision in your heart or aorta is closed.
- Your heart is then started so it beats on its own again.
Recovering from Robotic Heart Valve Surgery
After surgery, you'll spend at least a day in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Highly trained nurses will monitor you closely. When you're ready, you will be moved to a general care room. Most patients remain in the hospital for 3-4 days.
Most robotic heart valve surgeries have an excellent outcome. But any major surgery carries risk. During your recovery, call your doctor if you:
- Are short of breath while resting, or after only a little exertion
- Notice your heart beating fast or slow or skipping beats (palpitations)
- Gain more than two pounds in one day or five pounds in seven days, or your legs swell (retaining fluids)
- Feel dizzy or lightheaded
- Have fever of 100°F or higher
- Notice changes in your incision, such as swelling, oozing, or getting red or tender (call your surgeon)
- Have pain in your chest or shoulder that gets worse instead of better
- Have clicking or grinding in your breastbone
See a Cardiac Surgical Specialist
You may be a candidate for minimally invasive robotic valve surgery. For a referral to a Dignity Health specialist, please call (888) 253-1704.