Barlow’s mitral valve disease: results of conventional and minimally invasive repair approaches
Barlow’s valve is a clinically important form of degenerative mitral valve (MV) disease that is characterized by unique clinical, echocardiographic and pathological features. Successful and durable repair of Barlow’s MV represents a clinical challenge for most cardiac surgeons. An armamentarium of different MV repair techniques may be required, resectional, neochordal or plicational techniques. Although conventional sternotomy remains the mainstay approach for MV surgery in the majority of cardiac surgery centers, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is becoming increasingly accepted amongst patients, referring physicians and practicing cardiac surgeons. As surgical approaches, instrumentation and operative experience develop, select centers are now performing MIS MV surgery for nearly all MV patients. Although successful Barlow’s MV repair is more complex than that for most degenerative pathologies, several centers have published relatively large series of MIS MV repair for Barlow’s disease. In this review article, we highlight and compare the early and long-term results of conventional and minimally invasive approaches to Barlow’s and bileaflet mitral prolapse disease. Recent studies from various large volume centers around the world have demonstrated equivalent safety and efficacy outcomes of the MIS approach compared to conventional sternotomy surgery. In addition, MIS MV surgery may allow patients to benefit from a cosmetically appealing incision, a faster recovery and a quicker return to normal activities. However, a definite learning curve has been demonstrated for MIS MV surgery. If a patient with Barlow’s disease or other complex MV pathology desires to undergo MIS MV surgery, referral to a center and/or surgeon with extensive experience in MIS MV surgery is recommended.