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Valve Replacement (Single Valve)

    About the Treatment

    The valve replacement is a procedure carried out to replace the heart valves when they start malfunctioning and interrupt the smooth flow of blood. Blood flowing between chambers of a person’s heart is regulated by a heart valve and even the blood flowing from the heart to the large arteries is passed through a heart valve. The valves open to process the flow of blood and then close to prevent it flowing in a backward direction. The valves are of four types termed as the Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve and Pulmonic Valve. Among these four, the aortic valve is commonly replaced because it cannot be repaired whereas the mitral valve is the most common when it comes to repairing of a valve. Only in rare cases, repair or replacement of the tricuspid and the pulmonic valve is done.

    The valve replacement or repair takes place in case of regurgitation, where the valve does not close completely and allows the blood to flow backwards. And also in the case of stenosis, where a valve does not fully open and limits the forward circulation of the blood.

The execution of this procedure will be scheduled at a time comfortable for both the patient and surgeon unless the case is an urgent one.

Ensure to inform the surgeon and the cardiologist about any changes in health including symptoms of cold or flu. Even a minor infection may affect the process of recovery.

Review all medications (Both prescribed and others) with the cardiologist and the surgeon.

The following tests will have to be performed before the surgery:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • A chest x-ray

Quit smoking two weeks before the surgery or as mentioned by the doctor as the same shall lead to blood clotting and breathing problems during surgery.

Take a bath a night before surgery to reduce the amount of germs on the skin.

The patient shall not be permitted to eat or drink anything after midnight before the surgery. If consumed, the same should be informed to the anesthesiologist and surgeon.

Anaesthesia will be provided to make the patient go asleep before the procedure is carried out.

  • The patient is admitted either a day before surgery or, in some cases, on the morning of surgery.
  • To monitor the patient’s heart rhythm and electrical activity, electrodes are attached to his/her chest.
  • The patient is provided with a local anaesthetic to make the wrist area of the patient numb. A line will be inserted through the wrist to reach the artery.
  • Intravenous (IV) will be injected to give the patient anaesthesia during the operation. Besides, a mild tranquilizer will also be given to help the patient relax.
  • A tube will be inserted down the patient’s windpipe and connected to a machine called a respirator. Another tube will be passed through the patient’s nose, down the throat, and into the stomach.
  • The tube prevents liquid and air from collecting in the patient’s stomach, thus he/she will not feel sick and bloated post surgery. A catheter is then inserted into the patient’s bladder to remove any urine produced during the operation.
  • To keep the oxygen-rich blood flowing in the patient’s body when the heart is made to stop functioning during the surgery, a heart-lung machine is used. Prior to the patient being connected to this machine, an anticoagulant named medicine is provided in order to make the blood-thin and prevent the patient’s blood from clotting.
  • Post the patient is connected to the machine, his/her heart is stopped and cooled. The next step involves the surgical work where on the basis of the case a cut is made into the aorta or heart.
  • As soon as the process of repair or replacement is finished, the heart is made to function again, and the patient is disconnected from the heart-lung machine.
  • As per the case severity, this surgery may take around 2 to 4 hours or even more time to complete.

  • A week’s stay including 1 to 3 days of observation in the ICU can be expected in the hospital.
  • The recovery time also depends on the patient’s status before surgery.
  • The patient would be asked to several daily activities. The doctor may also suggest a cardiac rehabilitation or an exercise program.
  • The patient may return to the normal office life in about 4 to 6 weeks but, in case of jobs demanding more physical input, the patient may have to wait for a longer period than mentioned earlier.

  • In most cases the process of valve repair and replacement are completed successfully but, in rare circumstances, a failure may happen and another operation may be required.
  • In case of a biological valve, the patient may be required to get a valve replacement done in 10 to 15 years.
  • Symptoms of valve failure may be experienced even in case of mechanical valves. If so experienced, the same should be immediately informed to the doctor.
  • If a patient gets a mechanical valve, he/she would be required to take blood-thinning medicine lifelong.
  • Medicines may increase the risk of bleeding within the body. The patient should always wear a medical alert bracelet and inform the doctors or dentists regarding the blood-thinning medicines being taken.
  • Bacterial infection can happen in an artificial valve during any surgical or dental procedure, which can lead to a serious condition. Thus, the patient should inform the doctor prior to getting any other procedure done. However, prevention of the bacterial infections can be done by consuming antibiotics.
  • Clicking sound in the chest (It is nothing to worry about as it is the sound of opening and closing of the new valve)
  • Women of childbearing age who wish to get pregnant after surgery must get the proper choice of valve material.

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