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Department of Surgery Referrals Patient Clinician Researcher

Procedures & Innovations Mitral Valve Repair & Replacement

Mitral Valve Repair

Every year about 75,000 Americans undergo surgery to repair the mitral valves in their hearts. At least that many more, however, have significant disease of the mitral valve, but do not want to risk the traditional procedure. A new, minimally invasive procedure has now transformed a complex operation into a simple one.

What is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

When the leaflets of the heart's mitral valve fail to meet squarely and form a seal, the heart's ability to pump blood through the body is compromised. This condition, known as mitral valve regurgitation, can be life-threatening. Dr. Mehmet Oz has developed an elegantly simple tool that allows surgeons to use minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair a defective mitral valve without opening the chest or stopping the patient's heart. Traditional mitral valve repair surgery requires open heart surgery and use of a cardiopulmonary bypass machine to pump blood through the patient's body. This surgery only indirectly addresses the problem of the leaflets failing to meet squarely, however, and can fail to solve the problem.

Mitral Valve Repair: The Bow-tie Procedure

Minimally Invasive Procedure

Columbia University Medical Center researchers have patented a "bow-tie" procedure to minimally invasively repair mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation. An operation that would normally take 25 sutures can now be done with a single stitch, and may be done without any surgery in the near future.

Based on an innovation developed by an Italian surgeon, the new bow-tie technique uses a single stitch to join the two leaflets of the valve. The valve can still open on both sides of the stitch, allowing adequate blood flow through the valve. But the stitch assures that the two leaflets come together properly when they need to.

The procedure is called a bow tie because the open valve, stitched together in the middle, has a bow tie shape. Because the procedure is so simple, Dr. Oz developed a tiny grasping tool that can be threaded through a catheter into the heart, where it grabs the two mitral valve leaflets and brings them together. This enables surgeons to avoid open heart surgery and the use of the bypass machine.

At this time Dr. Oz has been granted a patent for the grasping tool, and he is overseeing trials of the procedure. Over 75,000 patients now get mitral valve surgery, and at least that number have significant valvular disease. If successful, the new procedure could minimize risks, be completed in 45 minutes and cost less than $10,000. Traditional methods take about four hours and cost approximately $40,000.

Mitral Valve Bowtie Procedure
Note the stitch holding the center leaflets of the valve together and helping the valve to form a tight seal when closed.
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