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What Is Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

The aortic valve and the mitral valve are the most common valves of the heart that are replaced. Surgery to replace aortic valve is conducted to alleviate aortic valve regurgitation and aortic valve stenosis. During this surgery the defective or damaged valve is replaced with an artificial one. Valve replacement is usually an open-heart surgery.

Valve stenosis:

This refers to narrowing of aortic valve. It is corrected by the most common procedure of aortic valve replacement.

Aortic regurgitation:

It is one other common valve problem which is called as aortic insufficiency. Regurgitation implies that the valve allows blood to flow back through it, into the heart rather than move it forward, out to the body. This condition often leads to heart failure.

To correct both these conditions, surgery may be required. Thankfully, cost of aortic heart valve replacement in india is relatively low in comparison globally.

Surgical Options: Valve replacement may be done using

  • Mechanical valve- a durable valve made of long lasting materials
  • Ross procedure- Borrowing healthy valve and re-positioning it in place of damaged valve
  • Tissue valve-using valves made of animal or human tissue. Most common source is the pig.
  • TAVR- Trans Catheter aortic valve replacement
  • New surgery types

The Procedure

At the start of the open heart valve replacement surgery, the doctor makes a big incision in the chest. A heart-lung machine is activated to take up the job of circulating blood in the body. The heart may be cooled down a lot, to slow the heart beat so that heart gets protection from damage while surgery is conducted to replace a damaged valve with an artificial one.

After Surgery

You will be hospitalized till you are healthy enough to go home. On the basis of the state of your health, you can go home in a few days following surgery.

But full recovery from surgery will need several weeks. You may require 4 to 12 weeks away from work. This depends on nature of work ( active or sedentary) and the state of your health. In certain cases, complete recovery may take many months.

Why Is Surgery Done?

Regurgitation of aortic valve: you are a candidate for surgery if regurgitation persists and manifests in symptoms. Sometimes, surgery is done before manifesting of symptoms, if regurgitation is growing worse. Surgery will be conducted immediately if you have acute regurgitation.

In case of aortic valve stenosis, surgery will be recommended as per severity and symptoms and on the basis of how well your heart is doing pumping of blood. Valve replacement is recommended when stenosis is severe or it may lead to heart failure.

Surgery can alleviate symptoms, increase your life span and enhance quality of your life.

Risks

Valve replacement surgery has a high success rate and less chance of complications, especially if you are healthy otherwise. But in spite of high chances of recovery, one cannot rule out death. This surgery is risky for those who have a failing left ventricle or those who have had a heart attack. Fatality count is around 5 in 100 people who have had this surgery.

Thus you must understand all options and aspects before venturing for heart valve replacement surgery. For some, cost of aortic valve replacement surgery may be a deciding factor.

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