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Valve Repair Surgery

The St. Francis Heart Center and the St. Francis Heart Valve Center are world-renowned leaders in the treatment of complex cardiovascular issues, using state-of-the-art diagnostics and procedures to provide appropriate, individualized patient care. One of these procedures is valve repair surgery.

St. Francis Heart Valve Center dedicated team of independent and Franciscan St. Francis physicians strongly advocate valve repair over valve replacement. Valve repair surgery preserves your own heart valve, avoiding the long-term issues related to valve replacement. The expertise of the Valve Center team has provided outstanding results. Since the Valve Center was established, 98 percent of all leaking mitral valves have been repaired, rather than replaced. Aortic valves that are leaking but have adequate leaflets are spared as well. Because the function of the patient’s own valve has been restored, concerns about long-term anticoagulation (blood thinning) or deterioration of biologic valves (taken from animals) are avoided.

The extracellular matrix, which comes as a fibrous sheet, is hydrated in water to become siky smooth but exceptionally tough. It is cut to appropriate dimensions by Dr. Marc Gerdisch, and sutured edge to edge with fine suture to repair a cardiac defect or remodel heart architecture.

The extracellular matrix serves as an interim bio-scaffold. Once the extracellular matrix is surgically implanted, the patient’s own cells migrate and integrateas part of  the body’s innate wound-healing mechanisms to restore tissue at the site of implantation. During the tissue repair process, the matrix provides a frame-work for the patient’s own cells to organize. The cells produce new matrix, replacing the implanted patch. This leaves remodeled functional tissue at the site of the previous defect.

View an animated demonstration of this revolutionary procedure

Dr. Gerdisch is an independent physician, who chooses to practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.