Everything you need to know about heart valve repair and replacement surgery
It’s been observed that most of the people suffer from heart valve defects that often lead to heart failure. However, with advancement of medical science, innovative means of tackling cardiovascular diseases have been introduced and this lead to betterment of general cardiac health.
The heart valves allow the flow of blood in one direction only. There are four valves in our heart – the mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary. It functions like doors, once the blood flows through, the flaps close thereby preventing the backflow of the blood. But, it is seen that sometimes these valves may not function properly and can cause serious cardiovascular diseases. And as these valves start malfunctioning, cardiac surgeons and heart specialists recommend heart valve repair or replacement surgery as required.
What is heart valve repair and replacement surgery?
Heart valve repair and replacements are medical procedures that are performed when one or more valves – mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary fail to function properly, disrupting the blood flow. Due to many reasons heart valves may malfunction. In the early stages, they can quickly repair the issues and start functioning normally.
However, if the condition is such that repair is almost impossible, doctors repair the original valves with artificial ones and make them function properly. Two types of options are available for replacing the valves. These are:
1.Mechanical valves: Doctors use artificial valves that work like the original ones. The patient needs to take blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clotting, stroke or myocardial infarction.
2.Biological tissue valve: This procedure involves the use of human cardiac muscles to make flaps of the valves. In this case, the patient need not take thinning blood medicines, but require periodic replacements since the replacement wears down due to tissue degeneration over time.
Why heart valve surgery is needed?
We know that malfunction of valves results in disruption of normal blood circulation of the body. When less blood is pumped, the heart needs to work more in order to compensate the lack of blood flow to the rest of the body. This often results in serious cardiac disorders and at times can be fatal. Heart valve surgery- valve replacement ort repair is done to address these disorders.
Certain symptoms tell us the necessity of heart valve repair or replacement:
2.Increased heart palpitations
Heart valve surgery is required if these defects occur:
Stenosis: It is a condition when the valve fails to open properly or fully, thereby blocking the normal blood flow. Aortic valve replacement is carried out when the aortic valve narrows down and obstructs the flow of blood from the left ventricle to body tissues.
Regurgitation: This process is undertaken when the valve cannot close tightly and as a result backward leakage of blood takes place. This can lead to serious complications and even death.
Heart valve repair:
Annuloplasty: A procedure which reinforces and reshapes the annulus (ring) around the defective valve in the heart. Annuloplasty is targeted in treatment of valve regurgitation that is the reason of enlargement of heart chambers.
Valvuloplasty: This method is applied in the case of valve stenosis. The procedure, also known as balloon valvuloplasty involves the insertion of catheter fixed with the balloon into the artery that is inflated inside the heart so as to expand the opening of the malfunctioning valve.
Heart valve replacement:
This is under taken when repair of valve cannot treats the defect properly. In the process of heart valve replacement surgery, doctors replaces the defective valve with mechanical valves or biological tissues, obtained from human heart. Open-heart surgery method is applied in this type of surgery.
However, the modern options for heart valve replacement surgery include transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure that are minimally invasive.
There are certain possible risks involved with the surgery of heart valve repair or replacement:
2.Blood clotting that may lead to stroke, heart attack or lung problems
3.Bleeding during or after surgery
And finally, the repaired or replaced valve may not function properly.
There may be some other risks depending on your physical health and therefore, you must consult your doctor or surgeon before proceeding for this type of surgery.
The roads to recovery- changes in lifestyle that need to be taken:
After valve repair or replacement surgery, there is a chance that patients will feel tired easily and would have difficulty in sleeping or having appetite. As such, certain lifestyle changes are required to be in good health.
1.Proper diet and nutrition: Post surgery, patients should avoid processed food and foods rich in saturated fat, supplemental calcium products and cholesterol-rich food, junk goods and maintain a healthy diet.
2.Practicing regular physical activity: A regular physical activity like walking, jogging, and light exercise can improve the overall cardiovascular health.
There is no fixed time to recovery of heart valve repair or replacement surgery. It completely depends upon the criticality of the surgery, the lifestyle, the diet, etc. It is observed, that with proper care, patients are likely to get back to normal health within a span of 3 months of surgery. Following the doctor’s advice along with regular visit are very essential.
Heart valve repair or heart valve replacement surgery, though a standard procedure but you should follow the recovery lifestyles strictly so that you may get back to your normal health slowly but steadily.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.