Heart valve repair surgery is performed when patients are experiencing valve stenosis (difficulty in valve opening) or valve insufficiency (valve not closing completely and leaking), which causes the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body.
Heart valve repair surgery is performed whenever it is possible to save the patient's own valve. During surgery, the patient's chest is opened up and they are attached to the heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). This machine pumps blood to the rest of the body while the heart is stopped and the valve is being repaired.
During the heart valve repair itself, the surgeon reconstructs the patient's existing valve so that it opens and closes properly and functions like a healthy valve.