HEART VALVE SURGERY
Aortic, Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Repair or Replacement
WHAT SYMPTOMS CAN HEART VALVE PROBLEMS CAUSE?
The heart has four valves that open and close to keep blood moving in the proper direction. If one (or more) of these valves is damaged, blood flow can be interrupted. The valves most often requiring surgery are the aortic and mitral valve. The aortic valve is located at the spot where the aortic artery meets the heart, controlling the flow of blood as it leaves the heart. The mitral valve is located in the left side of the heart, between the left atrium and left ventricle.
Heart valve symptoms include:
irregular heartbeat or palpitations
shortness of breath
swollen feet or ankles
Valve problems can be caused by several factors, including high blood pressure, pulmonary disease, valve degeneration, connective tissue disorders, inflammatory diseases and congenital defects. Without proper treatment, heart valve problems can significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
HOW ARE VALVE PROBLEMS TREATED?
Heart valve problems can sometimes be controlled with medication to help regulate the valve activity. When medication is not sufficient, valve surgery can be performed to repair the valve or to replace it when necessary using biological or mechanical valves. The decision of whether to repair or replace a valve will be determined by many factors, including the type and extent of the problem and the patient’s overall health.
WHEN IS HEART VALVE SURGERY PERFORMED?
Heart valve repair or replacement surgery is performed when the valve becomes damaged, usually as a result of:
valve stenosis, a condition that occurs when the valve’s flaps become stiff or thick
valve regurgitation, which occurs when the flaps (or leaflets) don’t close or seal properly, allowing blood to move backward (regurgitation is sometimes referred to as “leaky valve”)