Heart Valve Surgery

Heart Valve Surgery is sometimes required to treat heart valve problems. The doctor may carry out repairs to correct or prevent future damage to the heart’s structures or may change the heart valve, improving quality of life and extending life as well as alleviating symptoms.

Valve problems
Valve problems can be caused by birth defects, aging, and certain diseases. The aortic, mitral, pulmonic, and tricuspid valves help keep blood flowing in the correct direction in your heart. When a heart valve does not open all of the way (stenosis), less blood moves through to the next chamber in the heart. If the valve does not close tightly (insufficiency or regurgitation), blood may leak backward.
Symptoms of Valve Problems
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or heart failure
In preparing for surgery your doctor will explain your heart condition, the reason for surgery, the risks associated with the procedure, and the pros and cons of the surgery. Furthermore, please note the following:
  1. Before the procedure, you will undergo a health screening that includes a physical examination and laboratory tests.
  2. It is recommended that you visit the dentist to treat any problems with your teeth and gums as these can cause infection after the surgery. It is important that you tell your dentist that you have heart disease so they can prescribe antibiotics before and after the dental procedures.
  3. If you have a history of bleeding easily or clotting problems, or if you or family members have ecchymosis (discolorations on the skin due to bleeding), please inform the doctor.
  4. Please let the doctor know about any allergies you have to medication, food, and other substances, or if you have any implanted electronic devices.
  5. Avoid certain medications for 5-7 days, including anticoagulants and certain heart medication, as recommended by your doctor.
  6. You will need to avoid food and water for at least 8 hours before the procedure.
  7. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes for at least 1 week before the surgery.
  8. On the day of the procedure, please bring all medication you take regularly to the hospital.
  9. You will be instructed on post-procedure cardiac rehabilitation with exercise to help speed up your recovery.
  1. During the procedure, general anesthesia is given so that you will sleep through surgery and not feel any pain.
  2. The cardiac surgeon makes an incision in the chest to expose the heart.
  3. A heart-lung bypass machine is used to provide blood to the body when the heart is stopped during the surgery.
  4. The doctor will repair or replace the valve.
  • Use sutures to tighten the valve.
  • Remove a part of the valve.
  • Enforce the valve so it opens and closes as it should.
  • Remove the damaged valve and replace it with an artificial value.
Your treatment depends on several factors, including your age, general health, condition of your heart valves, and your preference. Your doctor will discuss the options with you and determine the appropriate surgery to treat your condition.
  1. You will stay in the hospital for 7-10 days and will spend the first 2-3 days in the Cardiac Care Unit so your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rate can be monitored.
  2. As soon as you are awake, you can begin the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Phase 1 by making fists with your hands, flexing and pointing your toes to stimulate circulation.
  3. You will likely experience some pain and discomfort at your chest, especially in the first 48-72 hours after the procedure. You will be given pain medication to manage this.
  4. When your symptoms improve, the doctor will gradually remove the monitors as appropriate.
  5. After the breathing tube, which is inserted during surgery, is removed, you may notice you have mucus in your throat and will need to cough it out to prevent infection. You will also need to carry out breathing exercises by inhaling and exhaling deeply and using the TriFlow every hour to maintain lung function.
  6. When your doctor allows you to start drinking water, limit how much you drink at the beginning.
  7. When your doctor allows it, you will be moved to a special rehabilitation ward where you will be encouraged to walk until you reach the target set for you, and then you will be able to return home.
  8. Before you leave the hospital, you will be scheduled for regular follow-up appointments to see your doctor and for the cardiac rehabilitation program to assess your ability to exercise.
This procedure has a low risk of complications, but they are always possible, depending on your health before surgery. Possible complications of heart valve surgery include:
  • Excessive bleeding (2-3%)
  • New-onset atrial fibrillation (29.5-33%)
  • Renal failure (1.8-4.9%)
  • Permanent stroke (1.3-2.3%)
  • Superficial wound infection (2-6%)
  • Mediastinitis (0.2%)
  • Death (1.5-4.2%)

In some patients medication may be an option. Stenosis of the aortic valve may be treated with an artificial aortic valve using a catheter and a problem with the mitral valve may be treated with a special equipment called MitraClip.

Related conditions

Doctors Related

Related Centers

Bumrungrad Heart Valve Center

Learn more

Related Packages

Rating score NaN of 10, based on 0 vote(s)

Related Health Blogs