Dr. Edward V. Bennett and his surgical team successfully performed the region’s first mitral valve repair using the da Vinci robot. The patient, Jan Ropetski, elected to have the surgery performed using the da Vinci robot to treat mitral valve regurgitation—a condition that if left untreated could lead to serious complications such as an enlarged heart, heart arrhythmias or heart failure. In addition, an atrial septal defect, a hole between two of the heart chambers, was also repaired during the procedure.
The mitral valve controls blood flow through the heart. With each heartbeat, it opens to allow blood to flow into the heart’s main pumping chamber—the left ventricle. When the left ventricle contracts to push blood through the body, the mitral valve then closes to prevent blood from flowing back into the heart toward the lungs. An abnormal or damaged mitral valve cannot completely seal the heart’s left ventricle resulting in poor blood flow. In some cases, a mitral valve can be repaired with surgery that rebuilds the tissue of the “leaky” valve with the help of an artificial band that provides stability.
“Ms. Ropetski’s condition was severe,” said Dr. Bennett. “Approximately 60-65 percent of the blood that was attempting to be pushed through her left ventricle was flowing back toward her lungs. Had she not sought surgical intervention, her quality of life would have begun to deteriorate rapidly. And the fact that she chose minimally invasive robotic surgery put her on the road to recovery that much faster.”