Cutting the second order chords during mitral valve repair

Antonio Maria Calafiore*, Sotirios Prapas, Antonio Totaro, Stefano Guarracini, Marco Cargoni, Kostas Katsavrias, Khalil Fattouch, Michele Di Mauro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The chordae tendinae connect the papillary muscles (PMs) to the mitral valve. While the first-order chordae serve to secure the leaflets to maintain valve closure and prevent mitral valve prolapse, the second-order chordae are believed to play a role in maintaining normal left ventricle size and geometry. The PMs, from where the chordae tendinae originate, function as shock absorbers that compensate for the geometric changes of the left ventricular wall. The second-order chordae connect the PMs to both trigons under tension. The tension distributed towards the second-order chordae has been demonstrate to be more than threefold that in their first-order counterpart. Cutting the second-order chordae puts all the tension on the first-order chordae, which are then closer to their rupture point. However, it has been experimentally demonstrated that the tension at which the first-order chordae break is 6.8 newtons (N), by far higher than the maximal tension reached, that is 0.4 N. Even if the clinical reports have been favorable, the importance of cutting the second-order chordae to recover curvature of the anterior leaflet and increase the coaptation length between the mitral valve leaflets has been slowly absorbed by the surgical world. Nevertheless, there are progressive demonstrations that chordal tethering affects the anterior leaflet not only in secondary, but also in primary mitral regurgitation, having a not negligible role in the long-term outcome of mitral repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4072-4078
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number12
Early online date15 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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