Valve Replacement Surgery: Types, Procedures, and Recovery

August 5, 2022

Valve Replacement Surgery: Types, Procedures, and Recovery
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When one or more of the heart’s four valves are dysfunctional, a kind of heart disease known as valvular heart disease develops. If the valves in your heart are too fragile, scarred, or otherwise damaged to heal, valve replacement surgery may be an option. If you have an issue with your aortic valve, you may require this surgery.

When this valve opens, blood flows from your heart into your aorta, the main artery in your body, and then to the rest of your body when this valve closes. Your aortic valve prevents blood from returning in the wrong direction to your heart when it closes. With each pulse, this cycle is repeated. Your doctor could advise surgery to replace that valve.

Why could I require surgery to replace or repair a heart valve?

To address the issues brought on by one or more damaged heart valves, valve repair or replacement surgery is performed.

You may experience the following signs of heart valve disease or damage:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Palpitations
  • Swelling in the abdomen, ankles, or feet (belly)
  • Quick weight gain brought on by fluid retention
  • Your doctor could advise heart valve replacement or repair surgery for other causes.

What are the risks of having surgery to replace or repair a heart valve?

Surgery to replace or repair a heart valve might come with the following risks:

  • Bleeding during or following the procedure
  • Clots in the blood that can result in heart attack, stroke, or lung issues
  • Infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Breathing difficulties

Types of heart valve surgery

The two types of heart valve surgery are as follows:

  • Valve repair surgery fixes the broken or malfunctioning valve while preserving a significant amount of the patient’s tissue. Although repair surgery can address issues with the aortic and tricuspid valves, the mitral valve is the most often treated.
  • Surgery to replace the malfunctioning valve with a mechanical (made of metal or carbon) or biological (from pig, cow, or human tissue) valve. Because every valve replacement is biocompatible, your body won’t reject the new valve.

Your healthcare professional will perform tests on you to determine your valve illness’s location, kind, and severity. The ideal procedure for you is chosen with the test findings. Your doctor will also take into account the following:

  • The structure of your heart.
  • Your age.
  • You also have other medical issues.
  • Lifestyle

Valve surgery can be combined with other heart operations by your cardiac surgeon. Examples include procedures involving multiple valve procedures during surgery and combining valve surgery with:

  • Bypass surgery
  • Surgery for an aortic aneurysm
  • Atrial fibrillation surgical treatment

When is a heart valve operation necessary?

You might have a leak, stiffness, or narrowing in your valve from birth, or it could have grown over time. If you exhibit heart valve illness, you should seek medical attention immediately.

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fainting

Medicines and food

Consult your healthcare professional about:

  • Before surgery, when and how to take your usual medicines?
  • How soon before surgery should you cease eating and drinking?

Personal goods and clothing

Your medical professionals could advise you to bring several things to the hospital, such as:

  • A copy of your living will or advanced directive
  • A list of the medicines you take
  • Hearing aids, dentures, or eyeglasses
  • Items that might put you at ease, such as books or portable music players
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
  • Personal care products such a toothbrush, comb, shaving kit, and more toothbrushes

What takes place before a heart valve operation?

The day before surgery, you may have a chest X-ray, echocardiogram, and an electrocardiogram (EKG). A CT scan, a heart cath, and lab testing are examples of further tests.

The region where your surgeon will operate will be cleaned and shaved by a medical professional. On the day before your procedure, avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight.

Find out which medications you can take before surgery from your doctor.

Bring easy-to-put-on footwear and loose, comfortable clothing. If you wear one, bring a bra that is simple to put on without lifting your arms. The person who brought you to the hospital can keep these belongings safe for you during surgery.

What happens after a heart valve operation?

Your medical team may transfer you to an intensive care unit (ICU) after surgery so they can closely monitor you. You will then be in a regular room. You might spend five to seven days in the hospital.

Your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored by devices attached to you. In addition, you can have tubes for fluid drainage coming out of your chest.

After surgery, your doctor will advise you to eat, drink, and get some exercise as soon as you can. You may gradually increase your distance by beginning small walks in your room or down the corridor.

Your doctor could suggest you enrol in cardiac rehab, an exercise programme that is closely watched.


Depending on your rate of healing and the type of surgery that was done, full recovery might take a few weeks or even several months. The main concern just after surgery is an infection; therefore, keeping your incisions clean is crucial. Always get in touch with your doctor right once if you experience signs of a disease, such as:

Fever, chills, discomfort or swelling at the wound site, and increased wound drainage.

When should I visit my doctor?

Speak with your doctor if

  • The area around your incision or your chest hurts.
  • You experience depression. This can occur following surgery and prolong your healing time.
  • You’re feverish, which might indicate an infection.
  • More than five pounds are added to your weight, indicating fluid retention.

People also ask

1. Is valve replacement a major surgery?

Heart valve surgery involves entering the chest via the breastbone to do heart valve surgery. It is a complex procedure that can take up to two hours to complete, and recovery frequently lasts several weeks.

2. How serious is a heart valve replacement?

Aortic valve replacement is a major procedure, and occasionally there might be fatal consequences. The chance of passing away due to the treatment is 2% overall. However, the danger of delaying treatment for the severe aortic disease is far more serious.

3. How many hours does valve replacement surgery take?

It’ll take between two and four hours. You could be given general anaesthesia before your procedure. After that, you’ll be able to sleep pain-free. The surgery is often carried out while sedated.

4. What is the survival rate of valve replacement surgery?

Survival rates of 84% to 93%, 79% to 82%, and 57% to 82% were reported after isolated Aortic Valve Replacement at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively.

5. What are the signs of needing a heart valve replacement?

  • Breathing difficulty during exercising.
  • Increasing exhaustion or fatigue and difficulty performing tasks that you previously found simple.
  • Respiratory issues causing difficulty sleeping (despite using two or three pillows)
  • Swelling of legs
  • Fainting or dizziness

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.



Cardiac Sciences

Cardiac Sciences

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