The Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Program started in fall of 2018 and has now performed over 100 operations with 100% repair rates and excellent overall results. Our dedicated robotic cardiac surgery team includes a cardiac surgeon, cardiac surgery physician assistants, cardiac anesthesiologists, perfusionists, and dedicated operative nurses, as well as surgical technicians. The use of a specialized team ensures consistency in approach and outcomes for our patients. Mitral valve prolapse is the most common disease of the mitral valve, affecting 1 to 2% of the population. The leaflets of the valve essentially become floppy, eventually resulting in a “leaky” mitral valve that can cause symptoms of heart failure such as difficulty breathing on exertion, fatigue, and arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.
Robotic mitral valve repair is a treatment generally offered to patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation and mitral valve prolapse. The operation consists of five small incisions on the right side of the chest. The arms of the DaVinci Xi™ robot pass through these small incisions, allowing for a high level of dexterity and precision. Highly specialized tools are used to allow for the least invasive method of performing the surgery. Robotic mitral valve repair is associated with a short hospital stay—patients typically stay in the hospital 2 to 4 days following the surgery, and the majority of patients are back to work within 3 to 4 weeks. It’s also associated with the use of fewer blood products, less pain, fast recovery, superior cosmetic results, and high patient satisfaction.
A majority of valves affected by mitral valve prolapse can be repaired by an experienced mitral valve surgeon. Yale is a high-volume mitral valve center that performs over 250 mitral valve procedures each year. Arnar Geirsson, MD, the chief of Cardiac Surgery for Yale Medicine, is a high-volume mitral valve surgeon who performs over 100 mitral valve operations per year, a majority of which are mitral valve repair. Because the repair can be complex, depending on each case, we encourage patients to seek out experienced mitral valve centers and surgeons to ensure that they receive the best results possible.
Other conditions requiring repair, such as tricuspid regurgitation, and those requiring ablation (MAZE procedure) such as atrial fibrillation, can be done separately or in conjunction with robotic mitral valve repair. Conditions requiring mitral valve replacement can also often be done with the robotic approach.