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American Heart Association Encourages Mitral Valve Surgery after Pressure from Indian Doctors

Many elderly patients have traveled to India for mitral valve surgery after being turned away by US doctors because of their perceived risk


Elderly patients who require mitral valve surgery can breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, North Americaís most respected medical journal is supporting a decision made by Indian surgeons to perform this cardiac procedure long sought after by elderly American patients.

North American cardiac surgeons often shy away from repairing or replacing leaking mitral valves in elderly patients because they believe that there was a high death rate and lower chances of a healthy long-term survival.

The techniques of mitral valve repair include inserting a cloth-covered ring around the valve to bring the leaflets into contact with each other, then surgeons remove the redundant/loose segments of the leaflets, and finally they re-suspend the leaflets with artificial cords. However recently surgeons have also been using the "bow-tie" procedure, were a single stitch allows to repair the valve non-surgically. Mitral valve replacement involves surgeons removing the diseased valve and replacing it with an artificial valve.

The mitral valve regulates blood flow from the heart's left atrium to its left ventricle. A leaking mitral valve causes blood to flow back from the lower to the upper chamber, a defect called mitral regurgitation. This abnormal flow can cause breathing problems, fatigue, irregular heartbeats and potentially fatal congestive heart failure.

Surgeons in India have been performing mitral valve replacements and repairs on seniors for years with great success while Mayo Clinic researchers have only recently corroborated the effectiveness of these procedures. After a long term study, researchers realized that the operationís death rate for patients over the age 75 fell dramatically from 27 percent to 5 percent between 1980 and 1995.

"In view of these improved results, North American surgeons should be more aggressive and operate on patients whose conditions are not so advanced so that we can offer them the improvements related to surgery," said Dr. Maurice E. Sarano, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Now the only thing holding back elderly patients from getting this procedure done in North America is high costs and long waiting lists. This is where the medical tourism Industry has stepped in to provide a viable alternative.

State of the art procedures like mitral valve replacement have been offered and performed regularly at the Krishna Heart Institute, in India, for the past six years., a Canadian Medical Tourism company, is the North American partner of the Krishna Heart Institute. They have been helping North American patients safely access international hospitals for various cardiac, orthopedic, fertility and cosmetic procedures for the past year.

According to North Americans can save from 50% to 80% on medical procedures while being treated in world class facilities with a standard of care that is equal to, if not greater than, the care that you would receive in an North American hospital.

A mitral valve replacement may cost upwards of $8000 in the US, however at the Krishna Heart Institute it costs only $5520. Thatís a savings of $2480.

For more information about getting mitral valve surgery or other medical procedures in India at affordable prices, please contact at 1-800-984-0457 or by email at

With files form the American Heart Association and CBC News

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