“How Long Does Heart Valve Surgery Take?” Asks Shirley

By Adam Pick on September 10, 2008

I really appreciate patients that actively prepare their caregivers and their support group for heart surgery.

Earlier today, I opened an email from Shirley that reads, “Adam – At 62, my prolapsed mitral valve is worn out. I’m going in for surgery to replace my mitral valve next week. I want my husband and children to know how long they may be in the waiting room… So, how long does heart valve surgery take usually?”



The really tough part about answering Shirley’s question is that there are many variables to each, particular heart valve surgery. For that reason, my standard response to this question is, “It depends.”

For example, my double heart valve surgery lasted 3.5 hours from the time I entered the operating room to the time I “checked-in” to the intensive care unit (ICU). Alternatively, I know of several patients that had surgeries well over 10 hours due to heart surgery complications.

That is why I hesitate to give a specific answer to the question, “How Long Does Heart Valve Surgery Take?”. However, if I was really pressed to answer this question, I would estimate between 3 and 5 hours.

Keep on tickin!

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

John T. Smith says on September 11th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I had mirtal valve replaced and maze procedure was in operating room from 6:45 am too11:40

Keith Thomas says on September 11th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

My surgery was about 4 hours, so the 3-5 hr range is probably pretty good barring complications which I’m sure you won’t have. Good luck, KT

JB says on November 12th, 2008 at 7:46 pm


Though I realize my post is more than a bit late to respond to Shirley, I thought I would contribute just the same. Its three months to the day since I had my aortic valve, aortic root and aortic arch replaced as well as my right sub-clavian artery redirected at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. I am informed I spent over nine hours from the time I entered the operating theatre until I was taken to the critical care unit. It may seem like a long time, but considering the things that were done to me, I’m thankful the highly skilled surgical team didn’t rush things.

Sara C says on November 13th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

My mom just had a mitral valve repair at Texas Heart Institute in Houston. They gave us great time estimates and were right on the mark for all the surgery. She went in around 6 am and we got to be with her until they came to get her for surgery around 730. They came and updated us at 9 am to tell us they were finishing stitching the valve repair and then would do a test run to see how well it worked. At 1030 they came in to tell us the surgery was over and she was in the recovery unit, where we got to have a brief peek at her for just a few moments. The whole surgery lasted right around 3 hours.
They had also told us that depending how things went it could be longer—if they had to replace and not repair, if the test run didn’t go well, etc, so we were prepared and were thrilled when it all went well in their best case scenario prediction.

Mary Ferraro says on November 14th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

My family was told it would be 6 hours but it took between 7 and 8 hours. My surgeon called the valve a “humdinger.” The prolapsed mitral repair required the anterior leaflet to be stabilized, an Edwards Lifesciences ring to be installed, an artificial cord installed, with trimming and reshapping the posterior leaflet to achieve balanced pressures on both sides with no leaking. Amazing!

Richard Naiss says on May 14th, 2009 at 9:33 am

I had my open heart surgery 4 weeks ago. My Aortic valve was replaced, my Mitral valve repaired and a hole was repaired. My surgery was about 6 hours. Although the the next few days were uncomfortable because of the catheter and tubes, the pain was not bad and upon getting home after 7 days in the hospital, I have slept well and feeling better each day. I look forward to a renewal of activity. ut this surgery, I would have died within 2 years. I am very grateful for this repair and restoration and the skills of my surgical team led by Dr. Priessler.

Jennifer says on March 23rd, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Hi my name is Jennifer and I am going to have mitral valve repair surgery I’m am 32 my heart I very weak but wht I’m more scared is tht I’m not going get through this. My support system is n tx we are in new York. Wht to do?

Gerald says on June 15th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I recently had aortic valve replacement surgery. My surgeon performed the operation using a technique called “minimal incision”. Prior to surgery he had indicated that this process was less invasive but more intricate meaning that recovery would be quicker but surgery time longer. My surgery lasted 6 hours.

Amanda says on August 10th, 2012 at 7:52 am

When I had my last Pumonary Valve replacement surgery 10.5 yrs a go it lasted 10 hours but i also have a lot of scar tissue for them to get through and was told that that is the majority of the surgery is just getting in.

michael says on November 27th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

hi adam
they said that I was on the table for about 7to 8 hours aortic aneurysm 1 bypass also they did the maze procedure that was a lot of work I guess thanks mike

Lyn Reedy says on July 4th, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Our 50 year son is having aortic valve replacement surgery this Friday, July 8th 2016. Reading up on this surgery has both help me understand the procedure and calm my nerves…some… After he is released from the hospital he will be coming to my home. My concern is his motivation through his uncomfortableness for continued wellness. I am wondering if there might be a site for we, the care giver.. Thank you. Wishing you will and a blessed day today and always. Lyn

Amy PH says on September 20th, 2017 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for all sharings. My husband is 37 and he’s still in a surgery for 10hrs. Kinds of worry but all I can do is now being in the waiting room..

Jenn says on June 20th, 2018 at 11:31 pm

I had aortic root replacement in 1997 it took 7.5 hours. About to have it done a gain next month. Let’s hope it goes smoothly.

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