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Heart Valve Replacement

Heart Valve Replacement

Heart Valve Replacement is the surgery which is performed to replace one or more valves in the heart with an artificial valve or the bio prosthesis valve. This procedure is usually indicated in medical conditions like heart valvular disease. Valvular disease of the heart is the medical condition in which the heart valve or valves do not function properly as it does normally. Basically, there are four important valves in the heart that functions to keep the unidirectional flow of the blood. Sometimes, some of these valves may not work properly owing to certain medical conditions, which eventually affect the blood flow to the heart thereby causing disruption of the overall health of a person

The treatment for heart valve disease is subjected to the severity of valve disease and the type. The treatments thus advised in such cases are Heart Valve repair or Heart Valve replacement.

Causes

There are four valves which include mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve. Each valve has flaps (leaflets or cusps) that open and closes once during each heartbeat. The patient may have Heart Valve problem since birth (congenital)where as in adults it can be acquired at any age due to many causes and conditions, such as infections and other heart conditions. Heart Valve Repair or Replacement can also be done in heart conditions like Calcification of the valves, Syphilis Infective endocarditis, Angina, Rheumatic valve disease, Cardiomyopathies, Aortic aneurysm etc.

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Treatment

Heart valve repair is a surgical technique performed to repair and close defects in heart valves in valvular heart diseases. Also this technique provides a substitute to valve replacement.

The replacement of one or more of the heart valves with either an artificial heart valve or a bio-prosthesis is called Valve Replacement. This is also an alternate surgery performed to valve repair. Heart Valve Replacement Surgery is further classified into 3 types depending on the diagnosis and type of valve involved. They are

  • Aortic Valve Replacement : In this procedure the failed aortic valve of the patient is replaced with an artificial heart valve.
  • Mitral Valve Replacement : In this cardiac surgical procedure the diseased Mitral valve of the patient is replaced by either bio prosthetic valve or mechanical valve.
  • Double valve replacement : This surgery is performed when there is a need of replacement of both the aortic and mitral valve.

Procedure

In valve replacement the tissues are used from either animal or human donor.

Valve replacement surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and the duration for this surgery is four to five hours.

The surgery is done either as an open-heart surgery where in the patient is placed on a machine which is called heart lung machine or some times without using the heart machine; that is the surgery is done on beating heart during which the heart beats are usually altered but considered as normal.

Once the doctor starts the surgery the incision is given to separate the breastbone and the ribs, after which the surgeon exposes the heart and finds the defective valve. The ends nearby the valve are marginally carved so that it loosens it from the tendons which connect the remaining heart after which the valve are removed easily. Followed by this, insertion of new valve is done and enclosed in the place.

Once the whole process is done the bypass machine is removed and the chest is stitched.

Are you a Candidate?

The Valve Replacement Surgery is indicated in the below mentioned conditions :

  • Acquired Heart Valve Diseases for example calcification of the valves, infection such as Syphilis Infective Endocarditis.
  • Congenital Heart Valve Diseases for instance bicuspid aortic valves, narrow or leaking valves.
  • Angina, Rheumatic Valve Disease, tumors of the valve.
  • Enlarged heart muscles known as Cardiomyopathy, increased opening of annulus of the valve, Hypertension and Aortic Aneurysm.

Prevention

The Valve Replacement Surgery is indicated in the below mentioned conditions :

  • Acquired Heart Valve Diseases for example calcification of the valves, infection such as Syphilis Infective Endocarditis.
  • Congenital Heart Valve Diseases for instance bicuspid aortic valves, narrow or leaking valves.
  • Angina, Rheumatic Valve Disease, tumors of the valve.
  • Enlarged heart muscles known as Cardiomyopathy, increased opening of annulus of the valve, Hypertension and Aortic Aneurysm.

Expected Results

The outcome expected from Valve Replacement Surgery is exceptional with a rewarding result. Post-surgery the patients are expected to get back in their normal activities along with the improvement in palpitations, improvement in breathing and fainting spells.

Recovery Timeline

Post-surgery the patient is kept in high dependency unit or ICU for monitoring the condition of the patient and then shifted to the normal room/wardonce the vitals are stable. In order to improve the blood circulation and for quick recovery the patient is directed to start walking as soon as possible followed by the cardiac rehabilitation to regain strength.

Cost

The estimated cost for the surgery is as below:

Sr.No. Procedures Cost in Naira
1 Aortic Valve Replacement 6000-7000
2 Mitral Valve Replacement 7000-8000
3 Double Valve Replacement 10000-12000

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

1. Are there any disadvantages to minimally invasive cardiac surgery?

The greatest drawback is that, sadly, not everyone is a suitable candidate for a cardiac operation that is minimally invasive done. Surgeons, however, are continually exploring new methods of applying minimally invasive cardiac surgery procedures, so more and more individuals will be able to benefit from the treatment over time. Minimally invasive cardiac surgery often involves a longer period of time in the operating room, but it is compensated by reduced hospital time and quicker recovery.

2. What are the differences between mechanical valves and tissue valves?

There are advantages and disadvantages with either choice. A mechanical valve lasts longer than a tissue valve, but you’ll have to be on blood-thinning medication for the rest of your life to reduce the risk of blood clots. The main advantage of a tissue valve is that it does not typically require life-long blood-thinning medication. Depending on your specific requirement the cardiac surgeon will suggest what’s best for you. The key is to choose the valve that best fits your lifestyle and your goals.

3. How long will my heart valve last?

Mechanical valves in some patients have lasted as long as 25 years without problems. Tissue valves in some patients have lasted as long as 15 years without problems.

4. Will a mechanical heart valve set off airport security?

Depending on the sensitivity of the security system settings, the mechanical heart valve doesn’t ideally trigger airport security alarms.

5. Can i have an x-ray after heart valve replacement?

All replacement heart valves are completely safe with x-ray exams.

6. How long after heart valve repair or replacement surgery can I resume “normal” levels of activity?

If you have a valve replaced or repaired, the normal recovery period is four to eight weeks, although minimally invasive approaches are often associated with more rapid recovery. Your ability to return to your normal daily activities depends on several factors, including the type of valve repair/replacement you’ve had, how you feel, how well your incision is healing, and the advice of your doctor.

7. If i have a mechanical heart valve implanted, will i need to take medications after my surgery?

Your doctor will prescribe blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medicine with a mechanical valve that you’ll take for the rest of your life. This drug helps prevent blood clots, which are a significant health risk. Depending on your general health and the precise nature of your valve disease, you will require other drugs.

8. What are the complications with heart valve replacement surgery?

Complications, sometimes leading to repeated surgery or even death, may be associated with heart valve replacement. Discuss your personal situation with your doctor to ensure you understand the risks, benefits, and possible complications associated with heart valve replacement surgery.

9. What do i need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle with my replacement heart valve?

  • Medications should be taken as prescribed.
  • If you experience any unintentional drastic weight gain or loss, fever, aches or any other symptoms.
  • Ensure to maintain a healthy and low salt-based diet.
  • Incorporate exercise as per your doctor instructions and try to have an active lifestyle.
  • Keep your doctor informed about any lifestyle changes.

10. Do heart valves make any noise?

All mechanical valves make a little noise. When a mechanical heart valve opens and closes, you may hear two distinct clicking sounds. This is normal.

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