- What is aortic valve replacement
For aortic valve stenosis, aortic valve surgery is done in order to replace an aortic valve. The valve that is damaged is removed during the surgery and with an artificial valve it is replaced. Typically an open heart surgery is done for valve replacement.
- Risks of aortic valve surgery
The problems after surgery may include:
- Increased risks of blood clots- a heart attack or stroke attack can be caused if they break off. By taking a blood thinning medication this can be reduced.
- Another replacement valve- this depends on your life span after surgery and on the type of valve.
- Incomplete relief- the working of the valve may be limited since some valves do not have wide openings. Hence the person may not get complete relief from symptoms.
- A valve that fails- your doctor needs to monitor from time to time that the valve is working.
- Surgical options for aortic valve stenosis
- Mechanical valve- materials such as carbon, plastic or metal are used. These valves last a long time and they are strong but people need to take blood thinning medication since the blood tends to stick to this valve.
- Tissue valve- they can be made from animal tissues or sometimes the persons own tissues or from the tissue of a person who has donated heart. But these valves are not strong.
- Ross procedure – for treating damaged aortic valves the Ross procedure is very effective.
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement –open heart surgery is not required in this method and to replace an aortic valve this method is new. Catheters in blood vessels are used in this procedure. This procedure is less invasive.
- Does valve replacement require sternoto?
Sternoto may be needed at certain times. In some cases a series of small incisions may be required.
- What occurs post surgery?
Many are able to live a normal and healthy life. A normal life can be obtained by mitrial valve repair. There may be no need of taking blood thinning medications or any other modifications related to valve replacement. More likely a medication may be needed in aortic valve replacement but it depends on the risk factors and the conditions.
- Types of valve used for replacement:
Currently they are of two types:
Mechanical valves- to last several hundred years they have been stress tested. They are generally long lasting. They decrease the quality of life and the sound of the valves can be heard.
Tissue valve- to prevent rejection and calcification the tissue is treated. In some cases a homograft is used.
- Any alternative: when it is too risky to do the aortic valve replacement step then there are alternative procedure such as:
- Transcatheter aortic valve implantation- it is done to repair a damaged or diseased aortic valve. It is a less invasive procedure. Into the artery in the groin, a catheter is inserted and to the heart it is threaded. The new valve is delivered to the place of the old by a balloon that is fixed at the end of the catheter and around it the replacement valve is folded.
- Valvuloplasty-it gives support to the leaflets and closes the valve more tightly. A ring around the outside of the valve opening is attached that gives the support.
- Recovery time
In the hospital the individual may spend around a week and in the ICU around 3-4 days. After the surgery the recovery time would depend on the immune systems health. Usually it is four to eight weeks. After minimally invasive surgeries, the recovery time is shorter. Basic self care is practiced and people get into deep breathing and resume walking, eating and drinking.
- When is there a need for aortic valve surgery?
Based on many things, valve replacement is recommended. It depends on the severity of stenosis, the symptoms and how effectively the blood is being pumped by the heart. Typically when the person has severe stenosis this surgery is recommended. The person may go in for a surgery when the aortic valve is leaking or is not opening fully.