Aortic valve surgery is repair or replacement of the aortic valve, located between the left ventricle and the aorta (the artery that sends blood out of the heart). The surgery is required when the aortic valve leaks back into the heart (aortic regurgitation) or its flaps become stiff and inflexible (aortic stenosis), blocking blood flow. Patients may or may not have symptoms of tiredness, low energy, swollen ankles, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and even lost consciousness. It is common for aortic valve surgery to also involve additional aortic surgery, such as correction of an aortic aneurysm. Repair and replacement techniques are similar to those of the mitral valve. Aortic stenosis can be treated with a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) procedure, which is a percutaneous heart valve replacement.
MIS valve surgery involves mitral or aortic valve repair or replacement done through minimally invasive – rather than open heart (i.e., cracked breastbone) – methods. It can be performed through smaller incisions on the side of the chest or through keyhole incisions with either laparoscopy or robotic surgery.
Robotic valve repair involves use of the da Vinci® Surgical System to perform minimally invasive mitral or aortic valve repair surgery. Two to four keyhole incisions are made in the chest. The da Vinci surgical instruments and a camera are inserted through these incisions, and the surgeon sits at a console to precisely guide the da Vinci instruments and repair the heart valve.