“What Are The Advantages Of Robotic Mitral Heart Valve Repair?” By Dr. Tom Mihaljevic

At the recent Society of Thoracic Surgeons convention, I was fortunate to meet several leading heart valve surgeons. One of those surgeons was Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic from The Cleveland Clinic. Considering that Dr. Mihaljevic’s specialty is minimally invasive heart valve surgery, I was intrigued to hear his clinical response to the question, “What are the advantages of robotic mitral valve repair?”

As noted in this video, Dr. Mihaljevic has performed successful surgery on many members of our community including Anne Shannon (aortic valve replacement) and Ashish Yaduka (mitral valve repair).

To help those patients and caregivers that are hearing impaired, I have provided a video transcript of Dr. Mihaljevic’s interview below.

Adam: Hi, everybody. It’s Adam and we’re here again at STS in San Diego and answering your questions that you put up at HeartValveBlog.com. We have a question for Dr. Tom Mihaljevic. As you may know, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic is at the Cleveland Clinic and the question relates to one of his specialties which is robotic mitral valve repair surgery. The question is, “Adam, can you tell me from a surgeon’s perspective what are the advantages of a robotic mitral valve surgery?” Answer the question, will you please, Dr. Mihaljevic.

Dr. Mihaljevic: Yes. Well, the advantages here are in a lesser invasiveness. That is the least invasive way to repair the mitral valve and the true benefit for a patient is not only the size of an incision but also the quality of the repair which is comparable to the quality of the repair that we have traditionally do for the large incisions and the big advantage is the quickness in recovery. A patient stay in the hospital for about three to four days and, even more importantly, they can return to their regular activities in their daily lives very quickly and within two to three weeks, they can be back to work full time.

Adam: Great. And a follow-up question…. In terms of robotic surgery, some people consider it to be one of the newer approaches to heart valve surgery. Can you share about maybe your experience, how many you’ve done, what the results have been and just kind of share about your experience.

Dr. Mihaljevic: Well, we at the Cleveland Clinic have the largest program in robotic mitral valve repair and totally have done well over 750 or 800 cases, mitral valve repairs for severe mitral regurgitation. Our repair rate exceeds 99 per cent and we have not had a single death in entire series.

Surgical Outcomes At Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Surgical Results (2006-2009)

Adam: That’s fantastic. So, there you have it. That’s Dr. Tom. Mihaljevic. You can learn more about him at the Heart Valve Surgeon Finder. Tom, thanks so much for being here and answering our questions.

Dr. Mihaljevic: Absolutely.

Adam: Thanks so much.

Dr. Mihaljevic: Thank you.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Patricia Shabel

    That’s what I had done in December 2009 by Dr. Alfredo Trento at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, and I have to say that it went very well and it is nice not having a scar down the middle of my chest (I get to continue to be somewhat vain!). I was born with a regurgitating mitral valve that became severe a couple of years ago. Today, I have a normal beating heart for the first time in my life! It worked for me!

  • Paul Kaminski

    Adam – Glad to see you feature Dr. Mihaljevic –
    Dr. Mihaljevic replaced my aortic valve in Nov 2008 –
    this was at the Cleveland Clinic –

    Dr. Mihaljevic is a great guy – but also a big guy –
    When I first met him – I was shocked when he stood up
    next at his desk to greet me, and shake my hand.

    I could help but express myself when I asked –
    Are you going to put those (referring to his hands)
    into my chest?

    He laughed and went ondto explain the procedure.

    Me decision to go with him and the procedure was one
    of my best decisions – I am forever indebted to him.

  • Shari Shoufler

    I had robotic mitral valve replacement surgery under Dr. J. Michael Smith at Cincinnati’s Good Samaritan Hospital on February 8th. While all signs point to a quicker recovery, and certainly my limitations have been considerably less that with the traditional method, I can also tell you that there is still pain, discomfort and numbness that I did not anticipate. Overall my experience was great and I am doing really well. Dr. Smith leads Good Sam’s cardiac robotic team and I credit him with the successful procedure. I would be happy to answer anyone’s questions regarding this method!

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