The UK Mini Mitral Trial

Published On: 14 January 2019Categories: News

At Heart Valve Voice we believe in the importance of studies and trials that aim to help research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease. We have been involved in and provided support for a number of trials over the past few years and have plans for our involvement in more trials and studies to come in 2019.

One trial that we are happy to support is the UK Mini Mitral Trial, a multi-centre randomised control trial on Minimally invasive thoracoscopically-guided right minithoracotomy versus conventional sternotomy for mitral valve repair. The UK wide trial is being led by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with Dr Enoch Akowuah, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon and Karen Ainsworth, Lead Research Nurse as clinical leads.

For patients diagnosed with mitral regurgitation, a form of mitral valve disease, the traditional approach to treatment is open heart surgery involving a sternotomy, where the heart is accessed by cutting the breast bone. More recently there have been developments in the area of minimally invasive surgery and an operation called a mini-thoracotomy to treat mitral valve disease. This treatment involves accessing the heart through a small incision on the side of the chest, a much less invasive approach.

The UK Mini Mitral Trial has been developed to help solve the issue of which treatment is better for patients and for the NHS and what effect each surgery has on patients following their treatment. Many of the patients and clinicians who were asked about the important factors to consider when deciding on a treatment option for mitral valve repair have said that the amount of recovery time and the severity of recovery are some of the more important things to take into consideration.

The trial is currently underway and it is anticipated that it will involve over 400 adult NHS patients from across England and Scotland who are randomly selected for either a sternotomy or a mini-thoracotomy. Each patient is monitored over the course of their treatment to assess their recovery and how quickly they can return to their normal activities. Patients are asked about their quality of life before and after treatment and assessments are performed on their physical health and how well their valves are working up to 12 weeks and 12 months after surgery.

Patients who take part in the trial are also fitted with a wristwatch type monitoring device that will track their physical activity on several occasions throughout the time they are in the study. Patients will be asked to attend a handful of hospital visits throughout the first year to help with the assessments required.

The Mini Mitral Trial and similar trials focussing on the advancement of the treatment of heart valve disease represent a push forward in improving innovation across the UK. Information gathered from trials and research studies that support the emergence of new technologies and techniques can not only help to help advance treatment options but can also improve the patient experience and inevitably save money in the long term for the NHS.

The Mini Mitral Trial is currently ongoing and we will continue to provide updates on the outcomes of the study. For any patients interested in finding out more please contact or visit

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