• By Dana Sparks

Surgery Better than Waiting for Patients with Severe Mitral Valve Regurgitation

August 14, 2013

Mayo Clinic-led study by U.S. and European researchers has found that having surgery sooner rather than later is better for otherwise healthy patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation. The results challenge the long-held belief that it is safer to “watch and wait” until a patient has symptoms, such as shortness of breath.

Lead author, Rakesh Suri, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says, “This is perhaps counterintuitive. Patients assume they are more severely affected if they need surgery. Actually the opposite is true. Once a patient develops severe mitral valve leakage — even without symptoms — we now know that it is preferable to promptly repair the leakage rather than letting the heart deteriorate."

This is the largest study to show that patients who undergo surgery early after diagnosis have improved long-term survival and lower risk of heart failure. Mitral valve regurgitation is common and increasing in frequency; it is estimated that by 2030, close to 5 million Americans will have moderate to severe mitral valve regurgitation. The findings will be published Tuesday in the  The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Click here for news release

Journalists: Sound bites with study authors Rakesh Suri, M.D., (cardiovascular surgeon) and Maurice Sarano, M.D., (cardiologist) are available in the downloads. B-roll [TRT 2:18] of heart valve surgery is also available in the downloads.

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