Heart Valve Surgery is surgery aimed at correcting heart valve disease. In heart valve surgery, one or more heart valves are repaired or replaced.
What is Heart Valve Disease?
When either of the four heart valves work inefficiently – the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral, and aortic – the individual is said to be suffering from heart valve disease. If one of the valves has problems closing (closing tightly), or opening, blood can move inefficiency causing the heart to work harder.
Stenosis is when the valve doesn’t open fully, causing less blood through the chamber. Conversely, insufficiency, also called regurgitation, causes the valves to leak when closed.
Repairing a Heart Valve
If patients have minimal damage, surgeons could repair the heart. In repairing a heart valves, a surgeon will either repair a valve or places a ring annuloplasty. Valve Repair is when the surgeon rebuilds the valves by cutting, triming or re-shaping them. In Ring annuloplasty the surgeon sews a ring, made of cloth, metal or tissue, around the valve to support its tightness.
Replacing a Heart Valve
If patients have valves that are damaged beyond repair, then a surgeon will replace the valves using two types of new valves Mechanical or Biological.
Mechanical Valves are man-made, prosthetic valves which are usually made of metal (stainless steel, titanium) and occasionally ceramic. These mechanical valves will often require patients to use anticoagulate medication to thin the blood. This medicine usually will be need for the rest a patient’s life because of the chance blood clots arising around the mechanical valves.
Biological Valves are valves taken from cows, pigs or human donors. These “natural” valves however don’t require the use of life-long antigoaculate medication.
The choice on the valves will depend on factors including age, occupation, your ability to take long-term anticoagulants, heart’s rhythm, and more. Your surgeon will help you make the correct choice in replacing the valves.
Ross Procedure (Pulmonary Valve Repair)
Surgeons have the ability to repair the pulmonary valve by replacing it with the aortic valve, then the aortic valve is replaced by a artificial valve.