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New heart surgery yields speedy recovery

March 22, 2011

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Surgeons at our Schulich Heart Centre have successfully performed their first port access surgery to repair a faulty mitral valve. The highly technical video-assisted procedure has only been performed at three other centres in Canada to date.

The minimally invasive surgery is carried out through a few small incisions, or "ports" in the groin, neck and chest — eliminating the need to split the patient's breastbone.

Such an approach enables a faster recovery and provides the patient with a far better cosmetic result.

Patients requiring mitral valve surgery either have a leaking or narrowed valve. Both conditions may cause blood to flow in the wrong direction, straining the heart and lungs and potentially leading to heart failure and/or death if the valve is not repaired or replaced in a timely fashion.

"The results to date have been truly remarkable," says Dr. Gideon Cohen, cardiovascular surgeon. "Patients have enjoyed shorter hospital stays, less pain and an earlier return to normal activities."

"The cosmetic benefits have been particularly impressive, with many patients having barely noticeable incisions beneath the right breast," he adds.

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