Heart valve surgery repairs or replaces a valve with stenoses, insufficiency or both. Heart valves are like doors that supposed to open fully or close tightly to store blood in heart chambers and direct blood flow to lungs and body. Mitral and tricuspid valves close when heart contracted, and open while heart relaxed at diastole, aortic and pulmonary valves react vice versa.
Left heart valves are:
Mitral valce lets oxygen-rich blood coming back from your lungs move from your left atrium (upper chamber) to your left ventricle (lower chamber).
Aortic valve lets oxygen-rich blood move from your left ventricle (lower chamber) to your aorta, which sends blood to your entire body.
Right heart valves:
Tricuspid valve Lets oxygen-poor blood flow from your right atrium (upper chamber) to your right ventricle (lower chamber).
Pulmonary valce lets oxygen-poor blood move from your right ventricle (lower chamber) to your pulmonary artery, which takes blood to your lungs to get oxygen.
Valve repair surgery to fix the damaged or faulty valve, while preserving much of the person’s own tissue. Most commonly, mitral and tricucpid valves can be repaired succesfully. Prosthetic heart valve rings are used while repairing mitral and tricuspid valves.
Valve replacement surgery to remove the faulty valve and replace it with a biological (pig, cow or human tissue) or mechanical (metal or carbon) valve. All valve replacements are biocompatible, which means your immune system won’t reject your new valve.
Timing and type of heart valve surgery is decided by the patients cardiologists and heart surgeons.
Heart valve surgery options include:
Traditional sternotomy incision: 15 to 20 cm through the breastbone.
Right mini thoracotomy incision: 8 cm through the right axillary and chest
Minimally invasive heart valve surgery: 5 to 8 cm inciision through right chest and groin. Techniques include endoscopic or keyhole approaches (also called port access, thoracoscopic or video-assisted surgery) and robotic-assisted surgery.
Transcatheter methods : Your doctorwill put a catheter into a larger artery, such as your femoral artery in your groin, and do the work without making a cut in your chest.
It takes about four to eight weeks to recover from heart valve surgery. But your recovery may be shorter if you had minimally invasive surgery or surgery through a vein.
People who were more physically active in the year after surgery had a lower risk of death than those who didn’t exercise much. The death rate ranges from 0.1% to 10% depending on the operation and the person's overall health.
The need for anticoagulant medication (blood thinners) after surgery depends on the type of surgery patients have. The medication prevents blood clots from forming and causing problems with your heart valve. Currently, warfarin is the only approved blood thinner for mechanical heart valves.
Mechanical heart valved patients need to take this medication for the rest of their lives.
In valve repair or a biological valve replacement, patients may need to take this medication for several weeks after surgery, or maybe not at all.