Philadelphia, PA, November 16, 2019 — While clinical guidelines recommend mitral valve repair over replacement, too many patients who would benefit from repair receive replacement valves, with higher rates of death or complications within five years after surgery. In an effort to combat this, the Mitral Foundation and the American Heart Association® today launched a joint recognition program to identify, recognize and promote the nation’s recognized medical centers for mitral valve repair surgery.

The Mitral Foundation and the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, have established a new joint recognition program for facilities: the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award. This award will provide information for patients and their families to make informed decisions and achieve better outcomes. This collaboration aims to increase the number of patients who receive mitral valve reconstruction, rather than replacement where appropriate.

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

“Mitral valve repair is among the more challenging operations to perform well, and it is not as common as many other cardiac procedures. Patients deserve to know whether the surgical team that is going to operate on them is truly and objectively excellent,” said David H. Adams, MD, Mitral Foundation president and the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis professor and chair of the department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and cardiac surgeon-in-chief of the Mount Sinai Health System. “This initiative will enable patients to make informed choices about the team they are trusting to perform their procedure.”

Ivor Benjamin, M.D., FAHA, volunteer scientific expert for the American Heart Association and immediate past president of the American Heart Association Board of Directors, added, “Choosing the right hospital for heart surgery is one of the most important healthcare decisions a person can make in their lifetime. Our collaboration with the Mitral Foundation will give patients needing mitral valve surgery the data they need to identify and access the healthcare that best meets their needs.”

Applications for recognition for the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award will be accepted in early 2020.  This recognition award program will:

  • Recognize those Mitral Valve Repair Reference Centers who have received this award that have a demonstrated record of superior clinical outcomes, as well as an ongoing commitment to reporting and measuring quality and outcome metrics specific to mitral valve repairs.
  • Promote the availability of recognized centers that have received this award to help improve access to quality care for patients across the United States.


About the Mitral Foundation

Since its founding in 2009, the Mitral Foundation has been a driving force in advancing the understanding of mitral valve disease and promoting mitral valve repair techniques. A commitment to patient care, education, research, and academic excellence continues to improve the quality of life for patients with mitral valve disease. Our work reaches across continents as we organize surgical missions to developing countries and lead mitral valve repair workshops around the globe, educating surgeons from over 60 countries.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

About Dr. David H. Adams

David H. Adams, MD, is President of the Mitral Foundation, and the immediate past President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He is also the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief of the Mount Sinai Health System.

Dr. Adams has published and set national benchmarks for degenerative mitral valve repair rates and leads one of the largest repair programs in the United States. Along with Alain Carpentier, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Adams co-authored the internationally acclaimed and best-selling valve textbook, Carpentier’s Reconstructive Valve Surgery, and currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of American College of Cardiology, and as Co-editor of the textbook Cardiac Surgery in the Adult.

About Dr. Ivor Benjamin

Ivor Benjamin, M.D., FAHA served most recently as the 2018-19 President of the American Heart Association. He also directs the Cardiovascular Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Benjamin is chairperson of the AHA’s Research Funding Subcommittee and a member of its Board of Directors, Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee, Executive Committee, International Committee and Science & Advisory Coordinating Committee. He is also a longtime member of the association’s Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences and Council on Clinical Cardiology.

Media contacts:

American Heart Association: Karen Springs, Senior Marketing Communications; 214-706-4831

Mitral Foundation: Karen Beard, CPC, CHCO, Program Director; 770-951-8427