Valve surgery is a procedure in which a damaged heart valve is removed, and a new prosthetic valve is secured in its place. Usually, the operation is an open heart procedure, but in other cases, it can be performed as a minimally invasive surgery in which the valve is replaced through a small incision.
What is it?
Heart valve surgery and replacement are procedures to repair or replace a damaged heart valve that is not functioning properly. Patients who need this procedure have dysfunctional heart valves due to stenosis (stiffness) or valve regurgitation (leaky valve) due to infection or aging. These issues overwork the heart as it tries to pump blood.
What should I do to prepare?
The patient undergoes several tests and consults before valve surgery. The patient should stop eating and drinking 8 hours before the procedure (usually overnight), discuss any allergies and current medications with a doctor, and quit smoking as soon as possible.
What happens during the process?
Open heart surgery is implemented to restore the damaged heart valve. This procedure involves a large incision made in the chest and the heart and temporarily stopping the heart’s functionality. There are also new, less invasive techniques that require much smaller incisions and involve a quicker, less painful recovery. A ring may be inserted to support the damaged valve, or an entire artificial valve may replace the old valve.
What are the risks and potential complications?
There are some possible risks associated with valve surgery and replacement including bleeding (during or after surgery), blood clotting causing heart attack, stroke, lung complications, infections, pneumonia, breathing problems, or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rates).
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