Stethoscope on the Cardiogram

Heart Valve Surgery

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Heart valve surgery is a procedure to treat heart valve disease. Heart valve disease involves at least one of the four heart valves not working properly. Heart valves keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the patient's heart.

The four valves are the mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve. Each valve has flaps — called leaflets for the mitral and tricuspid valves and cusps for the aortic and pulmonary valves. These flaps open and close once during each heartbeat. Valves that don't open or close properly disrupt blood flow through heart to body.

In heart valve surgery, The surgeon repairs or replaces the affected heart valves. Many surgical approaches can be used to repair or replace heart valves, including open-heart surgery or minimally invasive heart surgery.

The doctor will recommend which type of heart valve based on:

  • age

  • overall health

  • ability to take anticoagulant medications

  • the extent of the disease

Why it's done

There are two basic types of heart valve defects: a narrowing of a valve (stenosis) and a leak in a valve that allows blood to back up (regurgitation). The patient might need heart valve surgery if he have one of these defects and it's affecting heart's ability to pump blood.

The doctor will evaluate the patient to determine the most appropriate treatment for patient's condition. If the patient don't have signs or symptoms, or condition is mild, doctor might suggest monitoring over time. In that case, healthy lifestyle changes and medications might help manage symptoms.