There are several ways to treat a problem heart valve. One of them is through valve repair surgery.

While heart valve repair is generally the preferred method for treating a diseased heart valve, some patients are not candidates for valve repair surgery. This is because their valves are too badly damaged. Every patient's condition is unique, and each doctor has a unique approach to treatment. Your doctor will determine if valve repair surgery is the best treatment for your particular condition.

Your doctor will get information about your heart valve condition by performing tests that may include any or all of these:

  • Listening to your heart to hear the valves opening and closing and the rush of blood through them
  • Conducting an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your heart. This is the most common test used to find out if a heart valve can be repaired. But often, direct inspection during surgery is the only way to find out.
  • Performing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to get detailed images of the inside of your heart
  • Taking an x-ray image of your chest to check your heart, its major vessels, and your lungs for abnormalities
  • Ordering an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An ECG gives your doctor important information about your heart's rhythm and its size.

The procedure used to repair your heart valve depends on which valve is damaged. A large percentage of patients with mitral valve damage have successful repair procedures. 

Besides heart valve repair, other treatment options include medication and heart valve replacement.

Make sure you get answers to all your questions and that you understand completely why a particular method of treatment was chosen for you.