Mitral Valve Repair for Heart Disease

Romeo - Mitral Valve

What is Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve disease is by far the most common cardiac disease in dogs. One-third of dogs with mitral valve disease will have severe mitral valve regurgitation which means a leaky valve, leading to clinical signs and can result in congestive heart failure and fluid in the lungs. Most dogs with severe mitral valve regurgitation end up with palliative medical treatment.


The heart has four chambers, two atrium, two ventricles. The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart. When it ejects, the mitral valve prevents the backflow from the left ventricle into the left atrium. But when the mitral valve fails to work properly, there is regurgitation of blood into the left atrium. So, when the regurgitation is severe, the pressure and the volume in that left atrium get too high, resulting in congestive heart failure and some fluid builds into the lungs which is what we call pulmonary edema.
Common clinical signs associated with congestive heart failure include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Cough
  • Lethargy
  • Syncope
Mitral Valve Repair

Mitral Valve Repair

Mitral valve repair is the gold standard in human medicine, however, has very limited availability in veterinary medicine at this stage.
This surgery aims to restore proper mitral valve closure and abolish mitral regurgitation to essentially minimise the leak.


During the surgery, patients are under general anesthesia. The left side of the chest will be clipped and will have an incision in between the ribs to access the left side of the heart. Because the mitral valve is located inside of the heart, the heart needs to stop beating for the valve to be repaired. The blood is recirculated externally through a heart-lung machine, which will oxygenate and recirculate blood while the heart is open and the mitral valve is repaired.


The mitral repair itself consists of annuloplasty and cordal repair using an artificial cord. From here, patients stay hospitalized in our ICU unit for about a week and, once home, receive anti-clotting medication to prevent blood clot formation.

Ground-breaking Procedures

VSOS has new procedures potentially suitable for your pet with mitral valve disease with both surgical and minimally invasive options available such as:


• Mitral Valve Repair (available in November)
• Transapical Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER)
• Left Atrial Decompression (LAD)

Thank you to the amazing team from the JASMINE Cardiovascular Centre in Japan and our very own Dr Laurencie Brunel, Dr Mariko Yata, Dr Innes Wise and team of nurses and critical care to care for both patients around the clock.


Watch two very special patients’ journeys with Mitral Valve Repair at VSOS here, be sure to stay tuned for updates!


If you’re interested in knowing if your pet is a candidate for one of these procedures, please make an appointment to see Dr Karina Graham, Dr Laurencie Brunel or chat to our friendly receptionists, please contact us at or (02) 8376 8767.

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