Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
HEART VALVE REPLACEMENT SURGERY
Heart valve replacement surgery is done to replace or repair heart valves which are diseased.
This surgery takes upto 3-6 Hours
Blood that flows between different chambers of patient’s heart must flow through a heart valve. Blood that flows out of patient’s heart into large arteries must also flow through a heart valve.
The valves open up to allow blood flow through in one direction then they close keeping blood from flowing backwards.
There are 4 valves in your heart:
1. Aortic valve
2. Mitral valve
3. Tricuspid valve
4. Pulmonic valve
The most common valve to be replaced is aortic valve. The most common valve to be repaired is Mitral valve. The Tricuspid valve or the pulmonic valve repaired or replaced only rarely.
In open heart surgery, the surgeon makes a large surgical cut in patient’s breastbone to reach the heart and aorta. While the patient is on a heart-lung bypass machine, the patient’s heart is stopped. This machine does the work of patient’s heart, providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.
Minimally invasive valve replacement/repair surgery is done through much smaller cuts or through a catheter inserted through the skin.
Several different techniques are used:
1. Percutaneous surgery (through the skin)
2. Robot-assisted surgery
If the surgeon is planning to repair patient’s mitral valve, then patient may have:
1. Ring annuloplasty: The surgeon will repair the ring-like part around the valve through sewing a ring of plastic, cloth, or tissue around the valve.
2. Valve repair. The surgeon will trim, shape, or rebuild one or more of the leaflets of the valve. These leaflets are flaps which open and close the valve. The aortic valve is generally not repaired. Valve repair is generally for mitral and tricuspid valves.
Need for valve replacement surgery
If patient’smitral valve is too damaged to be repaired, patientwill need a new valve. This is called replacement surgery. patient’ssurgeon will remove mitral valve and sew a new one into place. There are basically two types of mitral valves:
• Mechanical which is man-made through synthetic materials, such as titanium. These valves have longest life. However, patientmay need to take blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin, for the rest of his life.
• And, Biological, made of human or animal tissue. These valves may also last 10 to 12 years. However, the patient may not need to take blood thinners for life.
After the Surgery
Once the new or repaired valve is working, patient’s surgeon will:
• Close his heart and take him off the heart-lung machine.
• Place catheters (tubes) around his heart to drain fluids that build up.
• Close his breastbone with stainless steel wires. It may take around 6-8 weeks for the bone to heal. The wires will stay inside his body.
He may have a temporary pacemaker connected to his heart until his natural heart rhythm returns.
Risks associated with surgery include:
Risks associated with Valve Replacement/Repair surgery include:
• Infection, which include chest wound infection, the occurrence of such is high in obese, diabetic or such patients who have already undergone a surgery before.
• Heart attack
• Heart rhythm problems
• Kidney failure
• Lung failure
• Depression and mood swings
• Low fever, tiredness, and chest pain, together known as postpericardiotomy syndrome, which can last up to 6 months
• Memory loss, loss of mental clarity, or "fuzzy thinking"
Biological, made of human or animal tissue. These valves last 10 to 12 years. The patient may not need to take blood thinners for life.
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