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Mitral Valve Repair

Robotic-Assisted Surgery With Colorado’s Most Experienced Da Vinci Cardiac Surgeon

To protect our patients and staff, all people entering a BCH care facility will be required to wear a mask (exceptions include children <2 yrs. old or medical reasons such as trouble breathing, unconsciousness, or someone unable to remove a mask without assistance).
*Bandanas, neck gaiters, and masks with valves are not acceptable.

Robotic Valve Repair Surgery ProcedureBoulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital was the first medical facility in Colorado and the surrounding multi-state region to perform cardiac mitral valve surgery via the da Vinci robotic-assisted system. Da Vinci enables the surgeon to perform open-heart surgery through small incisions and without cutting any bones.

Robotic-assisted mitral valve repair is a remarkably precise, minimally-invasive scope-based approach. Patients experience fewer incisions (incisions are often less than two inches) and much smaller scars, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times and less pain.

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Daniel O’Hair is one of the nation’s leading experts in robotic-assisted mitral valve repair and Colorado’s most experienced surgeon for that procedure. In 2019, patients from Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and Florida traveled to BCH for Dr. O’Hair to perform robotic mitral valve surgery.

BCH and Dr. O’Hair can offer a full range of mitral treatments. Our full-service cardiology program includes highly experienced cardiologists and surgeons with a team-based, multidisciplinary approach, providing everything from diagnostic tests to advanced treatments.

To learn more about Robotic Mitral Valve Repair or make an appointment, please call 303-442-2395. Dr. Daniel O’Hair is the most experienced surgeon in a multi-state region offering robotic mitral valve repair.

What is Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve disease includes stenosis and/or regurgitation (leaking). Stenosis occurs when the mitral valve in your heart narrows, restricting blood flow into the main pumping chamber. Regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve fails to close properly, causing blood to flow backward into the left atrium. The result is the heart has to work much harder, and this can ultimately lead to heart failure.

In patients with severe mitral valve disease, the valve must be replaced or repaired. If you require mitral valve surgery you may be a candidate for robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery.

Mitral Regurgitation Affects Nearly One in 10 Americans Aged 75 or Older.

Symptoms of Mitral Valve Disease

People with mild mitral valve regurgitation often live long, full lives and never require treatment. Once the condition becomes severe and begins to affect your heart’s ability to pump blood, mitral valve repair is the best option for most patients with a leaking mitral valve (mitral regurgitation).

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal heart sound (heart murmur) heard through a stethoscope
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath – particularly when you have been very active or when you lie down
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Swelling of your ankles and feet
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations (extra or skipped heartbeats)

If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to heart failure.

Sometimes mitral valve regurgitation does not cause any symptoms, even when the problem becomes severe. The heart has the ability to compensate for a long period of time. The quicker a surgeon can stop the severe leak – even when you experience no symptoms – the better the outcome. In patients with "borderline severe" disease or "moderate severe" disease, consultation with Dr. O'Hair may bring clarity to the need for and timing of treatment.

Treatment for Mitral Valve Disease

da vinci xi machineAt Boulder Heart, we use the latest advanced technologies to treat your condition. For mitral valve disease, Dr. Daniel O'Hair uses the da Vinci Xi surgical system, the most advanced minimally-invasive option for greater precision. The same system can used to perform complex surgeries in the areas of cardiothoracic, colorectal, general, gynecologic and urologic surgery. To perform advanced procedures with da Vinci Xi system, surgeons make very small incisions to insert a tiny high-definition, three-dimensional camera and miniature surgical instruments into a patient’s body. Click here to learn more about da Vinci technologies.

da Vinci Xi and Mitral Valve Disease

Seated next to the patient, the surgeon can view the heart with a magnified high-definition 3D view. Your surgeon uses the sharply defined live imagery to precisely maneuver instruments as small as seven millimeters inside the patient.

During surgery, the surgeon removes the defective or damaged segment of the mitral valve leaflet. The leaflet is then reconstructed using healthy valve tissue.

This technology allows the surgeon to see the intricate anatomy of the heart, with precise instrumentation and crystal clear 3DHD visualization (10 times greater than the human eye). With robotic-assisted surgery, no bones are cut. The incision is similar in size to that used to remove an appendix. This allows for quicker recovery and less pain.

The benefits of robotic mitral valve repair include:

  • Minimally-invasive with fewer incisions (5 to 6 total incisions, each 1 to 2 inches)
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay (typically 2 nights)
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activities

mitral valve repair incisions

After general surgery, systemic side effects are expected. With the da Vinci procedure, patients report limited weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. Appetite and sleep patterns are also improved.

At the two-week post-operative appointment, patients are often walking a mile or more with no fatigue, incisions are well healed and they are feeling very little effects from the surgery.

Those who undergo surgery sooner rather than later, even if they feel no symptoms, have improved long-term survival and a lower risk of heart failure.

Why Choose Dr. O’Hair and Boulder Heart?

Dr. Daniel P. O’HairDr. Daniel P. O’Hair, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at BCH, is one of the nation’s leading experts in robotic-assisted mitral valve repair and Colorado’s most experienced surgeon for that procedure. Dr. O’Hair successfully created one of the largest, high-performing heart valve programs in the U.S. and served as a medical community leader in Wisconsin for two decades, performing the first-robotic assisted mitral valve repair, TAVR, and mitral valve replacement (TMVR) procedures in the state.

Dr. O’Hair’s case experience in the U.S. and internationally is over 6,000. Dr. O'Hair followed his medical degree with two residencies and two research fellowships at Medical College of Wisconsin and Columbia University, respectively. He's now a leading innovator and expert in heart valve disease, surgical robotics and advanced cardiovascular surgery.

A Wisconsin native, Dr. O’Hair has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine – the world’s leading medical journal and website – and teaches fellow cardiologists around the world how to perform the innovative transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure.

Make an Appointment Today

The highly experienced cardiologists and surgeons at BCH build lasting personal relationships with each patient. We listen to you, we know your history, and we partner with your other medical providers to provide the right cardiac care at the right time.

To find out if robotic mitral valve repair is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. O’Hair by calling Boulder Heart at 303-442-2395.

Boulder Heart at Anderson Medical Center
4743 Arapahoe Ave. #201
Boulder, CO 80303

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Important Information

Boulder Community Health is following current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that call for patients and visitors to continue wearing masks at Foothills Hospital and all BCH patient-care facilities.

People age 12 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more on our general vaccine information page.