Exams and Treatments



Mitral or aortic valve repair or replacement


The goal is to replace or repair the patient's aortic or mitral valve. The specific goal is to minimize the skin incision and chest opening, if allowed by the patient's pathology and condition. Generally, the surgeon will make a small 6- to 8-cm incision on the side of the chest (above or below the breast) and make an opening between two ribs to improve the appearance of the wound and speed up healing.


A procedure to replace or repair the aortic or mitral valve is a minimally invasive procedure that lasts 2 to 4 hours.


The MHI will contact surgical patients at home to plan a pre-admission meeting. If you are unable to attend one of these meetings, you can still get a lot of useful information about your procedure in the MHI's Heart Surgery: Patient's Handbook. If you have concerns before the surgery, you can contact the nurse working with your surgeon at 514-376-3330, extension 4062.

For this procedure, patients must be hospitalized in the Surgical Unit the night before the procedure or must arrive early the morning of the operation. The required exams are as follows: blood work and biochemical analysis, coronary angiography, chest X-ray, cardiac ultrasound and, if required, cardiac CT scan.

On the day of the surgery:
• You must be in a fasting state as of midnight the night before.
• A member of the care team will shave the required areas of the body.
• After being shaved, patients must wash with a disinfectant soap and put on a new hospital gown.
• The nurse will give patients their normal medication as well as medication to help them relax. The nurse applies a nasal cannula to administer oxygen.
• A patient service associate takes the patient to the operating room, where a specialist administers anesthesia.

Heart Surgery: Patient's Handbook


For this surgery, patients are put under general anesthesia and on heart-lung bypass. In addition to the chest incision described above, patients will generally have a small incision in the right groin so that tubes from the heart-lung machine can be inserted through vessels in this area. Patients have to stay in intensive care for 24 to 48 hours and then on the surgery floor for 5 to 7 days.
Follow-up will depend on the type of valve or repair.

Visits to intensive care are limited to one person for 5 minutes on the day of the surgery and for 15 minutes on the hour starting from 11:00 a.m. the next day. After this period, patients are then transferred back to the Surgery Unit for 4 to 5 days. In this unit, patients can have visitors during normal visiting hours.

Follow-up and side effects 

Patients normally see the surgeon 2 to 3 months after the procedure and are then followed by their family doctor or cardiologist. The main side effects are fatigue and shortness of breath, which will gradually disappear with exercise and a return to normal activities. Patients generally return to work after approximately 1 to 2 months of recovery. 

Department of Surgery