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Is The Heart Stopped During Mitral Valve Surgery?

Mitral valve is present between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. Mitral valve disease results in mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis where the flow of blood is impaired.[1] In such cases, the mitral valve requires to be repaired or replaced.

Is The Heart Stopped During Mitral Valve Surgery?

Is The Heart Stopped During Mitral Valve Surgery?

A mitral valve surgery is either an open heart surgery wherein your chest is cut to reach your heart or a minimally invasive procedure where small incisions are made on the chest to reach the heart. During the procedure, you will be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine as a replacement to the heart to allow continuous flow of blood to the body.

Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery. There are different types of minimally invasive procedures such as:

Thoracoscopic Surgery. This type of surgery requires the use of long instruments which are inserted through one or more small incisions in the chest,

Robot-Assisted Heart Surgery. This type of surgery is performed by a surgeon using robotic arms. This type of procedure is performed by experienced cardiologists and is available only at few centers. The cardiologist performs the operation using robotic arms and viewing the heart through magnified high-definition 3-D view on a video monitor.

Mitral Valve Surgery – Open. Mitral valve replacement – open; Mitral valve repair – open or Mitral valvuloplasty is generally referred to as mitral surgery. The valve opens and closes allowing continuous flow of blood; the impaired valve causes a backward flow of blood which may produce several cardiovascular symptoms.

Mitral valve surgery – open is performed by making a large cut in the breastbone to reach the heart whereas minimally invasive procedures require only small incisions to reach the same place. The patient will be under anesthesia and the procedure will be painless during the surgery.[2]

Heart-lung bypass machine or bypass pump plays an important role during the procedure. The heart is stopped during the procedure and the functioning of the heart is performed by a heart-lung bypass machine or bypass pump. A small cut is made on the left side of the hart to reach the mitral valve and depending upon the condition of the valve either repair or replacement procedure is performed.[3]

Valve repair can be performed by adding ring-like structures around the valve. This ring-structure can be made of cloth, metal or tissues. At times the surgeon works on the valve to give it shape, trim the extra muscles or rebuild one or more of the three flaps (leaflets) of the valve.

If the cardiologist finds that the repair is not a good option, then they will opt for mitral valve replacement. The mitral valve is completely removed and a new mitral valve is sewed. The replaced mitral valve can be made of synthetic material (mechanical valves) or biological valves. Mechanical valves are made of materials such as titanium. These valves have a long life, but the patients are required to take anticoagulants throughout life. Biological valves are made of animal tissues and have a life of only 10 to 12 years; unlike mechanical valve these valves do not require patients to take anticoagulants.[4]

After successful replacement or repair, cardiologists check whether the valve has started working and then carefully removes the heart-lung machine, drains fluids which have build up in the heart and sews the chest bone with stainless steel wires. A pacemaker is connected until the heart rhythm returns to normal.[5]


The heart is stopped and the functions of the heart are performed by the heart-lung machine or bypass pump during a mitral valve procedure. Mitral valve surgery should be performed at medical centers which has an experienced medical team to perform the procedures and provide you with the best aftercare. The heart-lung machine or bypass pump is removed and a pacemaker is connected until the functioning of the heart is restored and gets the normal heart rhythm.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 22, 2023

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