Heart Care

FAQs for Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Who is a candidate for minimally invasive valve surgery?

  • A patient with a leaking (regurgitant) or blocked (stenotic) aortic, mitral or tricuspid valve can be considered for this procedure.
  • Age is not a contraindication.
  • Patients with a severely calcified aorta or adhesions inside the right chest may not be candidates for this procedure.

What are the advantages of a minimally invasive operation?
There are several clear advantages to performing minimally invasive procedures including:

  • Faster return to normal activities. Most patients fully recover in 2 to 3 weeks as opposed to 6 to 8 weeks after traditional sternotomy cases.
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Reduced trauma and pain
  • No splitting of the breastbone
  • Minimal blood loss and less need for transfusion
  • Decreased wound infection
  • Better cosmetics and a positive impact on patients’ lifestyle

How is the minimally invasive procedure performed?

  • A small 2 to 4 inch incision is performed on the right side of the chest.
  • The chest cavity is entered and the aortic, mitral or tricuspid valves are exposed through this more lateral approach.
  • The patient is connected to the heart lung machine via a small cannula placed in the femoral artery and vein.
  • The operation is performed utilizing highly specialized instruments as well as a camera placed in the field.
  • The entire surgery is completed through this small incision.

Can the mitral valve be repaired with a minimally invasive procedure?
Yes. We take a very aggressive stance on repairing the mitral valve. Any type of complex repair of the mitral valve can be performed through this small incision.

Is there any special preparation required for a minimally invasive procedure?
No. The same diagnostic procedures required for any other cardiac surgical procedure will be necessary for a minimally invasive procedure. This includes a cardiac catheterization or high-resolution CT scan to evaluate the
coronary arteries as well as an echocardiogram to inspect the heart valves.

How long is the hospital stay?
Most patients are in the hospital an average of 3 to 5 days.


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