- Symptoms of Aortic Valve Disease:
- Risks of Aortic Valve Replacement
- Aortic Valve Replacements Alternatives
- Preparing for aortic valve surgery
- Aortic Heart Valve Surgery
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Aortic valve replacement is an open-heart surgery technique through which damaged or diseased aortic valve is replaced with an artificial heart valve to treat problems associated with the aortic valve. When the heart valve opens, the blood flows through your heart into the aorta and on to the rest of your body. These heart valves help the blood to flow in the right direction through the heart. When the aortic valve closes, it restricts the blood to flow from the wrong direction back into your heart. This cycle recurs with every heartbeat. If the heart valve gets damaged, leaky or partially blocked your doctor may recommend having Heart Valve Replacement surgery. When the aortic valve isn’t functioning properly, it can obstruct blood flow as well as pressurize the heart to function properly to supply the crucial blood to the rest of your body. An aortic valve replacement procedure involves open-heart surgery via a sternotomy, minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). It is considered a Complex operation and isn’t suitable for everyone and may take a longer time to recover. In exceptional cases, aortic valve disease may not have any warning signs or symptoms for many years. While others may experience breathlessness, weakness, chest pain, loss of consciousness, arrhythmia, heart attack, and sudden cardiac arrest. Aortic valve repair or aortic valve replacement can cure aortic valve infections or disease, and also retains natural blood flow, minimize the symptoms, and improve the heart functioning.
Symptoms of Aortic Valve Disease:
- Loss of consciousness
- Fainting during physical activity
- Chest pain or tightness
- Abnormal heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
- Tiredness after being active
- Swollen ankles and feet
Risks of Aortic Valve Replacement
- Excessive Bleeding at the time, or after the surgery or any impairment to the blood vessels is a common risk associated with heart valve replacement. The doctor may insert Tubes into your chest to drain the blood, and in exceptional cases, another operation may be performed to prevent bleeding.
- Blood clots are likely to occur if you have undergone mechanical valve replacement.
- Heart attack or stroke is a common risk that occurs due to blood clotting.
- Infection at the incision site of heart valve surgery.
- Infection in the new valve (endocarditis), is common in valve replacement surgery. Your doctor may give you antibiotics to prevent the infection.
- Shortness of breath due to lung infection.
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) may affect some people after an aortic valve replacement that usually get cured with time. However, in some cases, a pacemaker should be fitted to control their heartbeat.
- Valve failure may occur when the valve gets torn out over the years, or because of a heart infection.
- Kidney problems may occur in some cases when the kidney doesn’t function properly after the surgery and temporary dialysis may be required.
Aortic Valve Replacements Alternatives
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)
Aortic valve balloon valvuloplasty
Sutureless aortic valve replacement
Preparing for aortic valve surgery
During Aortic Heart Valve Surgery
- During the procedure, a large incision is made in the center of your breastbone to enable the surgeon to access your heart, although in some cases a smaller incision may be made.
- Tubes will be inserted into your heart and large blood vessels, which are attached to a (heart-lung) bypass machine which will control the heart activity during the operation and also be diverting your blood into the machine instead of your heart. The machine will be pumping oxygen-rich blood to the body until the operation is done, taking over the role of your heart and lungs.
- Medication is used to stop your heart and the main artery is clamped closed which enables the surgeon to open the heart and perform the operation without blood pumping through it.
- The surgeon will restart your heart using regulated electric shocks, before taking you off the bypass machine.
- The Aorta is opened up, and a damaged or faulty valve is replaced with the new heart valve and your breastbone will be sewn in place with a thin wire, and the chest wound will be shut using dissolvable stitches.
- Tubes will be inserted into small holes in your chest (called chest drains) to drain away any blood or fluid that builds up.
Aortic Heart Valve Surgery Recovery
Aortic Valve Repair or Replacement
- The severity of aortic valve condition
- Patient’s age and overall health before surgery
- Structure of the heart
- Results of your diagnostic tests
- Whether a patient needs heart surgery to correct another heart problem in addition to aortic valve disease. If so, both heart problems can be treated at once.
- If you have a faulty or damaged heart valve, your doctor may suggest you have Aortic valve repair surgery. Generally, heart valve repair is usually more recommended as compared to valve replacement because of the lower infection risk, retains valve strength and function, and minimizes the need for blood-thinning medications for the rest of your life.
- The Aortic valve replacement surgery is mostly performed If the aortic valve is no longer working properly, surgery may be required to replace it. However, the best option may depend on an individual situation as well as the expertise and experience of the heart team.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Aortic valve replacement is a serious procedure with potentially catastrophic complications. The chance of dying as a result of the procedure is believed to be between 1 and 3 percent. However, this risk is much smaller than the risk of not treating severe aortic disease.
Life expectancy following valve replacement varies with age, but life-table analysis of large datasets imply that a 60-year-old should expect to live for roughly 12 years after aortic valve replacement.
Open-heart surgery through the breastbone into the chest is known as heart valve surgery. It's a big procedure that can take two hours or more, and recovery can take weeks.