Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on October 01, 1998 at 11:13:33:
In Reply to: Mitral Valve Surgery posted by Mark on September 28, 1998 at 07:04:11:
What causes calcification in the mitral valve? How does it impair heart function? How can it be prevented?
How many combination valve/maze surgeries has CCF performed? My dad recently had one and I find it remarkable.
Thank you for all your expertise and how it is helping my dad.
Dear Mark, thank you for your question. Mitral valve calcification is called mitral annular calcification (MAC) and commonly occurs in elderly people. We don't know why the mitral valve calcifies, but other vascular tissues including the coronary arteries and aortic valve also calcify with aging. MAC can be severe and mitral valve function may not be adversely affected (the mitral valve annulus is the supporting fibrous ring of the mitral valve). However, when the mitral valve leaflets calcify, mitral stenosis or regurgitation can occur. Mitral stenosis is caused by tethering of the valve leaflet tips which impairs blood flow through the mitral valve and causes blood to back up into the lungs. Mitral regurgitation is caused by restricted motion of the mitral valve leaflets which causes the valve to "leak" blood in the wrong direction (back into the lungs). The degree of severity of both mitral stenosis and regurgitation determines whether congestive heart failure develops. We have no specific strategies to prevent MAC and the resultant dysfunction of the mitral valve that may occur with it. I don't know specifically how many combined mitral valve / maze procedure surgeries have been done at CCF but Dr. Patrick McCarthy of Cardiac Surgery does the majority of those procedures so he would be best suited to answer that question. Call 1-800-CCF-CARE and ask for Dr. McCarthy's office if you would like more information on that subject. On a final note, thank you for your kind words and I'm glad to hear that your father is doing so well.
I hope you find this information useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only. Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your physician. Please feel free to write back with additional questions.