Heart Valve Replacement

Heart Valve Replacement

Heart valve surgery is a procedure done to repair or replace heart valves that aren’t functioning correctly. Due to the unusual functioning of the heart valves, there can be a blood flow blockage in the body, which may prove fatal to the patient.

Heart Valve Replacement - Overview

Heart Valve Replacement

Heart valve surgery is a procedure done to repair or replace heart valves that aren’t functioning correctly. Due to the unusual functioning of the heart valves, there can be a blood flow blockage in the body, which may prove fatal to the patient. If a person is suffering from heart valve disease, at least one of the four heart valves keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart that doesn’t function properly.

These four valves include the mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, and aortic valve. Each of these valves has flaps called leaflets, for the mitral and tricuspid valves, and cusps, for the aortic and pulmonary valves. These flaps open and close once during each heartbeat and sometimes the valves don’t open or close properly, disrupting the blood flow through the heart to the body.

There are two main types of heart valve:

  • Artificial heart valve
  • Mechanical Valve

Heart Valve Replacement - Symptoms

Heart Valve Replacement

If the patient faces any heart problems they should consult a cardiac doctor at the earliest in order to diagnose the exact heart disease. Some of the very usual symptoms of heart valve failures include:

  • Heart failure
  • An infection called endocarditis that may damage the heart valves
  • Severe chest pain (clinically known as angina)
  • Regular shortness of breath
  • Temporary loss of consciousness (also known as syncope)

In some cases, if patients have undergone this surgery before as well might face valve functioning problems due to blood clots, bleeding, infection, or other health issues. In such cases, the doctor might have to re-operate.

Heart Valve Replacement - Pre-Procedure

Heart Valve Replacement
  • Before the actual surgery to have your heart valve repaired or replaced, your doctor and treatment team will explain to you what to expect before, during and after the surgery and potential risks of the surgery.They will discuss with you concerns you may have about your heart valve surgery. You can also discuss with your doctor and treatment team any questions you may have about the procedure.

    The patient will also have to get his/her hair shaved at the location of the body where the procedure will take place.

    If the patient is pregnant she must immediately inform the doctor about her pregnancy

    Patients who are on medications that may alter blood clotting during the surgery might need to alter their medicines for some time.

    If the patient is allergic to any medications or anesthetic agents they should inform the doctor beforehand.

    Also, your doctor will ask you to quit smoking at least a week before the surgery if you’re a habitual smoker.

Heart Valve Replacement - During Procedure

Heart Valve Replacement

The surgery for heart valve repair is generally performed under general anesthesia by an experienced cardiac surgeon. The following are the steps of the surgery:

  • First, your surgeon will make a cut (incision) in the chest dividing the breastbone (sternum) into two halves and exposing the heart. In some of the case, Surgeons may also perform minimally invasive heart surgery, which involves the use of smaller incisions than those used in open-heart surgery.
  • In the next step, the surgeon inserts the tube in the patient’s heart in order to circulate blood using a cardiopulmonary bypass machine
  • Once the blood is diverted into the machine, then the heart is injected with a cold solution and then the valve is replaced. If there is a need to repair the valve, the surgeon will either trim, reshape or rebuild the valve, depending on the problem. In some cases, the surgeon might also perform a Ring Annuloplasty wherein the ring-like part of the valve is repaired. Once the valve replacement or repair is finished, the surgeon restarts the heart using electric shock paddles.

Heart Valve Replacement - Post-Procedure

Heart Valve Replacement

After the surgery normally it takes a day 2 to get out of the intensive care unit (ICU). Then the patient is given fluids, nutrition, and medications through intravenous (IV) lines and few other tubes will drain urine from the bladder and drain fluid and blood from the heart and chest. Once the heart of the patient is stable, he/she is then shifted to the room and doctors and nurses constantly review the progress. The overall recovery period of the patient largely depends on his/her health before the operation and age. As the heart surgery takes a lot of time to heal, the patient is required to take care of the instructions given by the surgeon until he is perfectly fit. It takes about a few months for the patient to resume his/her normal routine but they are advised to be extremely careful about infections and overstressing to ensure no relapse in the surgical procedure.

Heart Valve Replacement - Risk & Complications

Heart Valve Replacement

Any kind of heart surgery is not easy rather it is considered to be one of the most complex and sensitive operations in our body and thus, they often come with certain risks and complications. You will be explained about the risk and complications associated with the surgery beforehand to help you make the right call. Some of the common complications include:

  • Bleeding that may require a re-operation
  • A heart attack or heart failure in rare cases
  • Temporary memory loss or confusion due to the heart-lung machine
  • Low fever and chest pain that may last for 6-months post-op
  • Irregular heartbeat (known as arrhythmia)
  • Stroke or temporary or permanent brain injury

It is recommended to follow all the instructions and be extremely careful after the surgery and take necessary precautions in order to prevent infections after heart valve surgery. Speak to your doctor as you might need antibiotics before a dental surgery or any other invasive procedures done after this open heart surgery.

Heart Valve Replacement - Doctors

Heart Valve Replacement

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More Info About Heart Valve Replacement

Heart Valve Replacement
Procedure Cost in USD Stay in Hospital Stay in India Total Days
Heart Valve Replacement 5500-7000 7 days 14 days 21

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