Our heart has four valves that let the blood in and also flow out of the heart. Heart valves malfunction either by not closing properly and leaking or partially blocking the blood flow into the heart chambers. The blood can regurgitate back into the chamber when the valve is prolapsed and does not close right. In stenosis, the valve does not open completely.
The first successful keyhole heart valve surgery was performed at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin on a Carlow woman. Ms Harriet Gould had her mitral and tricuspid valve replaced by cardiothoracic surgeon Micheal Tolan and his team. The surgery was performed using endoscopic technique. Unlike the 25 cm incision needed for a traditional open surgery; the endoscopic key-hole heart vale surgery requires just a small incision. A small 5 cm incision was made on the right side of the chest. The heart was visualized though a telescopic camera for precision in surgery.
Though a major surgery, minimal invasive heart valve surgery is less painful and can be performed with lesser blood loss. The risk of infection is far lesser than open heart surgeries. The patient needs lesser period of hospitalization too. Besides, the residual scarring can be minimized as well. Another benefit of this type of surgery is that the risk of mortality can be reduced up to 2-3 %.