Heart valve replacement surgery is a procedure by which surgeons remove a damaged heart valve and substitute it with grafts or parts from body tissues or with synthetic heart valves to restore the normal functioning of the heart.
Heart valve replacement surgery is done under general anaesthesia and takes about four to five hours. The surgery is done either as an open-heart surgery where in the patient is put on a heart lung machine or rarely as beating heart surgery without the use of heart lung machine, while the patient’s heart is normally beating.
If the heart valve(s) becomes damaged or diseased, a person may experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Edema (swelling) of the feet, ankles, or abdomen
- Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention.
The patient is put under general anaesthesia and connected to the heart lung machine. This machine takes over the pumping, circulatory, and respiratory functions of the heart and lung till the surgical procedure is going on.
The valves are accessed by cutting open the rib cage and accessing the heart directly. The old valves are sliced from their attachments and new valves are put in their place. The new valves may be obtained from a cadaveric donor, or an animal (pig) or it may be made of a nonreactive inert material.
The patient needs to be given anticoagulants or immunosuppressive to clotting of blood or rejection of organ. The prognosis of this surgery is good. It is many a time a life-saving and life extending surgery.
Types of Heart Valve Replacement:-
Open-heart valve replacement surgery It is a surgical procedure wherein the patient’s heart is exposed in the operation theatre and surgery is performed on the internal structures of the heart. During the surgery, the patient is placed on a heart-lung machine that allows blood to flow through the heart while the surgery is being performed.
Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery: Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery, also known as Keyhole surgery, is performed by making small incisions of about 3 to 4 inches in the heart muscle, through specialized surgical instruments. In most cases, minimally invasive heart surgery focuses on Mitral valve repair, Aortic valve repair and Tricuspid valve repair.
Valvuloplasty : It is a technique wherein the stiff aortic valves are treated with the help of a balloon catheter. The balloon is positioned in the aortic valve and subsequently inflated to expand the size of the valve, leading to improved blood flow.
Double and Triple Valve Repair and Replacement in India
Double valve repair and replacement procedure aims at correcting or replacing both these damaged valves (aortic & mitral together) with new functional valves. This is done through the open heart surgery. Triple valve replacement repair and replacement means repair or replacement of three valves of the heart.
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