“What Is An Annuloplasty Ring?” Asks Regina

By Adam Pick on December 15, 2009

I just received an interesting question from Regina about heart valve repair surgery. Her question focuses on the use of annuloplasty rings to treat leaky heart valves.

Regina writes, “Hi Adam – Although I’m 58, I was recently diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation. My cardiologist thinks I may need surgery in the next year. The disease is categorized as moderate-to-severe. The cardiologist mentioned the potential use of an annuloplasty ring but did not explain why I might need one. Can you help me better understand the role of an annuloplasty ring? Thanks, Regina”

 

Annuloplasty Ring For Mitral Valve Repair
Annuloplasty Ring Used In Heart Valve Repair

 

As we have learned together, there are many different valvular disorders which negatively impact the flow of blood through the heart and body. Specific to Regina’s situation, her mitral valve leaflets are not sealing properly. Therefore, blood is flowing backward, also known as regurgitation.

Ultimately, this form of valvular disease forces the heart to work “overtime” which can lead to an enlarged heart and, in a worse case scenario, heart failure. During some types of mitral valve repair, an annuloplasty ring is used to support the mitral annulus and maintain an appropriate diameter of the heart valve opening.

“Why?” you may be wondering.

Well… It makes sense that if the diameter of the valve opening is larger than the extent to which the valve leaflets close, this can be a serious risk to the patient due to heart valve leakage. The picture above shows an actual annuloplasty ring implanted during a heart valve repair.

 

Annuloplasty Ring For Mitral Valve Repair
Annuloplasty Ring Sizing Process

 

As you would imagine, annuloplasty rings – like heart valve replacement devices – come in different sizes to best match the patient’s valve size. Several different companies manufacture annuloplasty rings including Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic.

I hope this helps Regina (and perhaps you) learn a little more about annuloplasty rings.

Keep on tickin!
Adam


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

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 The Wall Street Journal.

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 The Wall Street Journal.

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