What Is Heart Velve Surgery?

Heart valve surgery is a medical procedure that involves repairing or replacing one or more damaged heart valves. Heart valves are crucial for proper blood flow through the heart, and any damage or dysfunction can lead to serious complications, including heart failure and even death.

There are several different types of heart valve surgery, including:
  1. Valve repair: In some cases, a damaged heart valve can be repaired rather than replaced. This involves making small repairs to the valve leaflets or other parts of the valve to restore proper function.
  2. Valve replacement: If a damaged valve cannot be repaired, it may need to be replaced. Valve replacement can be done using a mechanical valve or a tissue valve.
    • Mechanical valves are made of metal or plastic and are designed to last a lifetime. However, patients with mechanical valves will need to take blood thinning medication for the rest of their lives to prevent blood clots from forming on the valve.
    • Tissue valves are made from animal tissue, such as a pig’s heart valve, or from human tissue donated from a deceased person. They do not require blood thinning medication, but they may need to be replaced after 10-15 years.
  3. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that involves replacing the aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery. This procedure is typically only recommended for patients who are considered high-risk for open-heart surgery.
  4. During heart valve surgery, the patient is put under general anesthesia, and the surgeon makes an incision in the chest to access the heart. The surgeon then either repairs or replaces the damaged valve, depending on the specific case. After the procedure is complete, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for several days to recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Heart valve surgery may be required to treat heart valve disease, such as regurgitation (leaking) or stenosis (narrowing), which can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, or fainting spells.
A: Recovery time after heart valve surgery varies depending on the patient’s overall health, the extent of the surgery, and the type of procedure performed. Generally, patients can expect to stay in the hospital for several days and require several weeks of recovery time before returning to normal activities.
A: Yes, heart valve surgery can be performed on older adults, but the decision to undergo surgery will depend on the patient’s overall health and individual circumstances. The surgeon will evaluate the patient’s medical history, current health status, and other factors to determine if surgery is appropriate.