Minimally Invasive Aortic Valce Replacement
Blood flows out of your heart and into the aorta through a valve. This valve is called the aortic valve. It opens up so blood can flow out. It then closes, keeping blood from flowing backwards. Aortic valve surgery is done to replace the aortic valve in your heart.
- An aortic valve that does not close all the way allows blood to leak back into your heart. This is called aortic regurgitation.
- An aortic valve that does not open fully will restrict blood flow. This is called aortic stenosis.
Why is surgery performed?
Surgery may be done for these reasons:
- Changes in your aortic valve are causing major heart symptoms, such as chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, fainting spells (syncope), or heart failure.
- Tests show that changes in your aortic valve are beginning to seriously harm how well your heart works.
- Your heart valve has been damaged by an iinfection of the heart valve.
Minimally invasive aortic valve surgery is done through much smaller cuts than the large cut needed for open aortic valve surgery.
A minimally invasive procedure has many benefits. There is less pain, blood loss, and risk of infection. You will also recover faster than you would from open heart surgery.
During valve replacement surgery, your surgeon will remove your aortic valve and sew a new one into place. There are two main types of new valves:
- Mechanical -- made of man-made materials, such as titanium or ceramic. These valves last the longest, but you will need to take blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin, for the rest of your life.
- Biological -- made of human or animal tissue. These valves last 10 to 12 years, but you may not need to take blood thinners for life.
Once the new valve is working, your surgeon will close the small cut to your heart or aorta, place catheters around your heart to drain fluids that build up, and close the surgical cut in your muscles and skin. The surgery may take 3 to 6 hours.