heart valve surgery

Heart Valve Surgery

A Heart Valve Surgery is done to correct or replace the affected valves in the heart. The blood that flows through different chambers of the heart must flow through the heart valve. The valves open up, allowing the blood to flow through and they close so the blood does not flow in the reverse direction. However, when the blood that flows out of the heart into the arteries also flows through the heart valve, it may cause a medical condition, which needs to be noticed.

The different valves situated in the heart, includes;

  • Aortic valve
  • Mitral valve
  • Pulmonic valve
  • Tricuspid valve

Among all the valves, aortic valve is the one, which needs to be replaced in case of any critical situation, as it cannot be repaired, Whilst, Mitral valve can be treated with medical surgery. The Pulmonic valve or tricuspid valve can either be treated or replaced according to the patient’s condition.

Why is Heart Valve Surgery required?

There are certain conditions which emphasizes on the need for a person to undergo heart valve surgery. To point a few:

  • When the valves do not work or function properly
  • When the valve does not close properly and allows the blood to go in the reverse direction, where the condition is called regurgitation
  • When the valves do not open up fully and allow only limited blood to flow through, this is called stenosis

Some of the other reasons for why the patient may require a heart valve surgery are:

  • If the diagnosis reveals that the functioning of the heart is affected due to the poor functioning of the heart valve
  • Due to the defects in the heart valve, which may cause major problems such as chest pain, heart failure or shortness of breath
  • If the heart valves are damaged by infection
  • If the earlier heart valve, which was replaced is not working well and requires another replacement
  • If the earlier replaced heart valve faces problem like bleeding or blood clots

Symptoms a  Person Might Experience:

If the heart valves are affected and needs medical attention, then the patient may experience symptoms like:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of feet, ankles or abdomen
  • Weight gain due to fluid retention


Heart Value Replacement Surgery:

The need for heart valve replacement surgery is emphasized, on various medical conditions, particularly, when it cannot be treated via medications. Valves used for replacement includes:

  • Mechanical valve – This valve is made of man- made materials such as stainless or titanium. They last longer to the lifespan of the patient.
  • Biological valve – This valve is also called as Tissue valve, which is made up of human or animal tissue. However, they do not last as long as the mechanical valves.
  • Homograft valve – This valve is also called as Allograft valve, which is removed from a donated human heart and preserved under sterile conditions.


Heart Value Repair Surgery:

The physician may opt for heart valve repair surgery when the patient’s condition is getting severe. Some of the effective medical procedures and surgical methods the surgeon chooses include:

  • Annuloplasty -The surgeon repairs the valve by tightening the ring of tissue around the valve. This helps the flaps of valve come together. Sometimes, the surgeon may also implant a ring allowing the flaps to come together, as it makes the valves open smaller.
  • Repair of valve -The surgeon will either shorten or re-build one or more of the flaps of the valve. This surgical approach is very commonly used for Tricuspid valve and pulmonic valve repair.


Risks associated with the Heart Value Surgery:

The known phenomenon of every surgery or medical procedure followed is some risks or side effects involved in it. Perhaps, this completely depends on the current health condition of the patient before the surgery. Some of the possible risks involved in heart valve replacement surgery are:

  • Heart attack
  • Differences in heart beat/rhythm
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Low fever and chest pain

However, the condition is still manageable, while expecting quick recovery of the patient with proper medical after surgery attention.