Hartford Hospital has received the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award from the American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation for providing state-of-the-art imaging, resources, structure and specialty trained providers and staff, and implementing standards and best practices necessary to support a mitral valve repair reference center.

The award also recognizes Hartford Hospital’s consistent record of superior clinical outcomes mitral valve repair surgery. (In photo above, from left, are the mitral valve program’s Megan Belcourt, RN; Susan Collazo, RN; Sabet Hashim, MD; Tricia DaCosta, RN; Toni Constante, RN, Christopher Panetta, PA; and David Van Niel, PA.)

The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award was developed to identify, recognize and promote the nation’s top medical centers for mitral valve repair surgery.

“We are honored to receive this recognition by the American Heart Association and the Mitral Valve Foundation,” said Bimal Patel, Hartford Hospital President and Senior Vice President, Hartford HealthCare. “The award is a true testament to the skill and dedication of our surgeons, our entire cardiac surgery team, and their unwavering commitment to quality care making Hartford Hospital one of the top cardiac surgery programs in the nation.”

The recommended treatment for degenerative mitral valve disease is mitral valve repair, as opposed to valve replacement with a bioprosthetic or mechanical valve, because valve repair is associated with improved survival and fewer long-term complications. Many patients who would benefit from repair receive replacement valves that are associated with higher rates of death or complications within five years after surgery.

This happens because mitral valve repair is a subspecialty of cardiac surgery. To be qualified as an expert in mitral valve repair, the surgeon must perform a minimum of 25 mitral valve repair surgeries per year over 2 consecutive years, have a 95 percent repair rate for patients with degenerative mitral valve disease, and all repair patients must have an echocardiogram performed within 90 days of surgery showing less than moderate regurgitation in 95 percent of patients.   Hartford Hospital performs over 200 mitral valve repairs for degenerative disease every year.

“The wide disparity in the quality of mitral valve repair surgery between hospitals and surgeons prompted the American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation to develop benchmarks for the designation of centers of excellence,” said Dr. Sabet Hashim, Chairman of Cardiac Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute. “This initiative is a tremendous effort by these organizations to promote safe mitral valve surgery.”

“This prestigious recognition truly reflects our surgical team’s commitment to clinical excellence and further demonstrates that Hartford Hospital is one of the top centers for cardiac surgery in the country,” said Wheatley Wentzell, Senior Vice President, Operations, of the Heart & Vascular Institute.

“We are pleased to recognize Hartford Hospital for their commitment to patients who need mitral valve repair,” said Dr. Robert O. Bonow, professor of cardiology at Northwestern University and past president of the American Heart Association. “Choosing the right hospital for heart surgery is one of the most important healthcare decisions that patients and their referring physicians must make to ensure best outcomes. The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center award identifies hospitals with excellent processes and outcomes and gives patients and cardiologists the information necessary to make these important decisions when mitral valve surgery is required.”

More information about the American Heart Association and Mitral Foundation Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award is available here.