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Home > Medical Services > Penn Heart and Vascular > Scope of Services > Treatment / Therapy/ Intervention / Surgery

Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery

At Chester County Hospital, our cardiovascular surgeons are now able to perform minimally invasive valve surgery techniques for replacement and repair.

The heart has four valves that control the flow of blood through the heart:

  • The mitral valve
  • The aortic valve
  • The tricuspid valve
  • The pulmonary valve

If one or more of these valves does not work properly, it may need to be surgically repaired or replaced with an artificial valve.

Most valve repair or replacement operations are performed on the aortic or mitral valve.

The mitral valve is the "inflow valve" for the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle. Blood flows from the lungs, where it picks up oxygen, across the open mitral valve and into the left ventricle. When the heart squeezes, the two leaflets of the mitral valve snap shut and prevent blood from backing up to the lungs. Blood is directed out of the heart to the rest of the body through another valve, the aortic valve.

Traditionally, surgery for valve repair or replacement has involved making a large vertical incision in the center of the chest and completely splitting the breastbone. However, for eligible patients, cardiovascular surgeons at Chester County Hospital are now able to use minimally invasive techniques for valve surgery.

These new techniques use smaller incisions and specialized instruments. Often the cardiovascular surgeon does not have to open the breastbone at all and if he does have to split the breastbone, only a small portion of it needs to be split.

This means that patients have less pain, a decreased chance of infection and a shorter recovery time after surgery.

Last Updated: 8/17/2015