IS HEART VALVE REPLACEMENT SURGERY SAFE?
The heart is that amazing organ that has been beating right from the day you are born, down to the day you breathe your last. It basically works as a pump and consists of four chambers, two atria and two ventricles; there are four valves controlling flow of blood through each chamber which prevents the blood from flowing backwards. The valves basically control the passage of blood through the heart, opening and closing with each beat, allowing the blood to flow in one direction.
The valves open and close in an alternating pattern, allowing the blood to flow through the atria and ventricles at different times. When these valves start to malfunction, grave conditions arise that can lead to heart failure and other conditions. Malfunctions can present in two major forms:
Regurgitation – The valve(s) doesn’t close perfectly as designed by nature, allowing some blood to flow backwards into the emptying chamber.
Stenosis – The valve(s) openings may becomes narrowed or not close properly, thereby inhibiting the flow of blood out of the ventricle or atrium. In such a condition, the heart has to work harder and create a greater force to push the blood out of the chamber through the hardened valve(s).
In some rare cases, both forms of valve malfunctions may occur together leading to morbid conditions. It also interferes with the normal pumping of blood around the body with heart failure being a common result of malfunctioning valves.
Malfunctioning valves can be treated in a variety of ways, either through medications or invasively, by repairing or replacing the diseased valve. As each patient’s parameters and situation is unique, the doctor has to take an independent view of each case and treat accordingly. Surgical heart replacement is an effective method of controlling heart valve disease and you and your doctor need to decide if it’s the best thing needed for you.
Heart valve replacement surgeries are safe surgeries that have been performed successfully over the years and have helped many a patient improve the quality of their lives. They are typically performed as open-heart procedures, and rarely as minimally invasive surgeries or a catheter procedure. It’s a straight-forward, though intricate procedure that has a high number of benefits and a low risk for complications.
There are two types of prosthetic valves available for implantation, including the mechanical valve which is made of durable material and the tissue valve which could be from other humans or from animals. The patient will feel some benefits immediately after the surgery and will slowly learn to engage in his/her normal activities again as they heal and the new heart valve starts to function.
A few risks exist as with all surgeries and could include malfunction of the replaced valve or abnormal heartbeats, both of which can be taken care of by your doctor. Rarely, blood clots can also form that could travel to the lungs and cause discomfort or even death.