Aortic Valve Replacements or Repair is a procedure that treats conditions related to the poor functioning of aortic valve. Aortic valve is one of the four valves in the heart which keeps blood flowing in the right direction by separating the left ventricle (which pumps blood) and the main artery (aorta) which supplies oxygen rich blood to the body.
The poor functioning of aortic valve can interfere with blood flow, making heart to work harder. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and sudden loss of consciousness.
The treatment to restore the full functioning of Aortic Valve depends on severity of the condition, signs and symptoms. It is recommended in the cases of:
Aortic Valve Regurgitation
It occurs when blood flows backwards through Aortic Valve into the left ventricle, every time the ventricle relaxes. It can be due to leaky or dysfunctional valve or could be congenital (birth defect).
Aortic Valve Stenosis
The Aortic Valve can get narrowed down due to congenital abnormality, age-related thickening and wear and tear effect of the valve’s closure flaps or inflammation in case of Rheumatic Heart Disease. Congenital abnormalities can happen due to lack of tissue, wrong size or shape of the valve or no opening for the blood to flow.
The expert would decide either on Aortic Valve Replacement or Repair after considering various factors like age, symptoms, severity of the condition etc.
Aortic Valve Repair
It is a time-tested procedure in which the procedure is done through open heart surgery and opening the chest bone. The surgeon would repair the Aortic Valve by either:
By placing tissue patch on holes or tears in the perforated cusps, closing the valve
By separating merged cusps, removing and reshaping the tissue for the valves to close
By adding support at the roots of the valve
By implanting an artificial ring around a valve
The above procedures ensure better functioning of the Aortic Valve that were not open due to Aortic Valve Stenosis. In some cases, the surgeon would opt for a minimally invasive procedure called Balloon Valvuloplasty, through Cardiac Catherization.
Aortic Valve Replacement
This procedure is done by removing aortic valve and replacing it with mechanical valve or another valve made from biological tissue. It is done through open heart surgery, in which the mechanical valve is placed to replicate the functioning of Aortic Valve and the patient may not require blood thinners for its smooth functioning.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
In certain cases, the surgeon may refer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, a minimally invasive procedure, in which the expert accesses through a blood vessel in the leg or by making a small incision in the chest. A catheter is then guided through the veins towards the Aortic Valve and a self-expandable aortic valve gets replaced.