True or False: Cardiac Surgeons Perform At Least 37 Mitral Valve Repair Surgeries Each Year

As heart valve surgery is a very serious and very complex operation, I encourage all patients to interview and research their potential surgeons. Even with the known risks of heart valve surgery, you want to be 100% confident in your surgeon as you are being rolled into the operating room.

One of the key criteria for surgeon selection is experience. Specific to this point, I just learned a very interesting fact about the average yearly number of mitral valve repair surgeries performed by cardiac surgeons.

Well… What do you think?

If you said “True”… That’s what I thought! I quickly did the math and, in my mind, it is completely logical that a surgeon, performing 1-2 procedures a day, would easily reach 37 mitral valve repairs during a twelve month period.

However, the data provided by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) indicates a “False” response is correct. As you can watch in this video interview with Dr. Michael Mack, the president of STS, the mean number of mitral valve repair surgeries performed annually is only… five.

During this interview, Dr. Mack, who practices at The Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas, alludes to the research of Dr. Steven Bolling. In May, I was able to discuss that research with Steven Bolling, MD at the AATS meeting. In case you missed it, here’s a great video in which Dr. Bolling, Director of the Mitral Valve Clinic at the University of Michigan, answers the question, “Is your surgeon likely to perform mitral valve repair surgery?”

Whether or not you got this trivia question right, I hope the information provided above supports you through the heart valve surgery process.

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

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.

  • fred wittenstein

    i had aortic valve replaced open heart surgery on aug 5 2011 i am 80 yrs was asuccess however i am depressed .i can not play tennis which is a big part of my legs are like lead & my energy level is this normal? how much longer do i have to wait? i bought your book about 2 yrs ago but i left it in ny i am in boca raton fl. i was ranked 4th in the east in the 45s doubles.i never had much stamina. how is your game?

  • Miriam Nissley

    This information is really helpful! Thanks!

  • Debbie Singleton

    I had a mitral valve replacement in Febuary 2005. After recovery I was suprised at my energy level. I felt 10 years younger. The draw back that I had was that the new mechanical valve made my heart race too fast and I was prescribed Cardizem and Lanoxin to lower my heart rate. The Cardizem took away that extra energy I had experienced but I am healthy and very much alive almost 8 years since that surgery.
    Without the surgery the surgeon had given me a two year life expectancy.
    Thank the Lord for giving me a good surgeon and a special little tick that reminds me of how blessed I am to be alive.

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