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Heart Valve replacement is a medical procedure to substitute one or more of the heart valves damaged, or affected by a disease. The process is done as an alternative to valve repair. In conditions when valve repair or catheter-based procedures become nonviable, the cardiologist may propose undergoing the valve replacement surgery. During the procedure, your cardio-surgeon detaches the heart valve and restores it with a mechanical one or one made from cow, pig or human heart tissue (biological tissue valve).
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Heart valve replacement surgery is the replacement of a malfunctioning heart valve (commonly the aortic valve) with a mechanical or biological valve. There are 4 valves located in the heart which are the aortic valve, mitral valve, pulmonary valve, and the tricuspid valve. These valves have the function of pumping blood to and from the heart, to circulate blood around the body. A defect in the heart valve can cause the blood flow to flow backwards or forwards, in the opposite direction of which it should flow. This can cause a variety of problems such as chest pain, and heart failure.
Common causes for heart valve problems are congenital heart defects (CHD) which is present from birth, and heart valve disease. Surgery is usually performed as an open surgery and involves removing the defected heart valve, and replacing it with a new valve, either made of biological or mechanical material.Biological heart valves can be made from bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) tissue which is inserted into place after the defected heart valve is removed.
Biological heart valves also include donor valves which is known as a homograft valve. Biological valves can last around 15 years and usually need to be replaced. Mechanical heart valves are designed to replicate the human heart valve and to have the same function. They are made of up of prosthetic material and unlike the biological heart valve, they generally do not need to be replaced.
Recommended for Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the opening) Aortic regurgitation (backwards leaking) Mitral valve stenosis, Mitral valve regurgitation, Mitral valve prolapse Time requirements Number of days in hospital 7 - 10 days Average length of stay abroad 4 - 6 weeks.
After valve replacement heart surgery, patients must ensure with their doctor that their condition is stable enough to travel home.
Patients will need to undergo a series of tests and consultations ahead of surgery. Most patients will have blood tests, X-rays and physical examinations to determine their overall health, and their suitability for the procedure. In the 2 weeks leading up to the surgery, patients are usually asked to refrain from taking certain medications such as aspirin and to stop smoking.
Before the surgery, patients will be advised to fast for a certain amount of hours, as a general anesthetic will be administered. Patients with complex conditions may benefit from seeking a second opinion before beginning a treatment plan.
A second opinion means that another doctor, usually an expert with a lot of experience, will review the patient's medical history, symptoms, scans, test results, and other important information, in order to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
This procedure is usually performed as an open surgery. The surgeon will make a long incision down the breastbone, and a rib spreader is used to open the chest and access the heart. Tubes are inserted into the heart and major blood vessels, and are attached to a bypass machine. When this is turned on, blood is diverted into the machine, and away from the heart so that the surgeon can operate without too much blood loss.
The defected heart valve is then removed and replaced with a biological or mechanical heart valve. Materials The valve used may be a mechanical valve (man-made) or a biological valve (made from animal tissues).
Anesthesia; General anesthetic.
Procedure duration The Heart Valve Replacement takes 3 to 6 hours. The procedure duration depends on the extent of the heart disease present and will be discussed with the consultant before surgery. There are 4 valves in the heart which control the direction of the blood flow, both to and from the heart.,
Post procedure care Patients will be connected to a ventilator after the surgery and brought to the ICU (intensive care unit) to be closely monitored for between 24 and 48 hours. After ICU, patients will be moved to the ward to complete the recovery, and continue to have a catheter, chest drains and heart monitors attached.
Patients who have had a mechanical valve fitted will need to take blood thinning medication and undergo regular blood tests for the rest of their life.
Possible discomfort After major surgery, it is common to experience weakness, lethargy, discomfort, and soreness.,