When more than one valves become stiff, the heart is forced to put extra work to pump blood through the valve. The valves become rigid and narrow due to infection and even as a part of aging.
Traditionally, the open-heart surgery is performed for the replacement or the repair of the heart valves, as it’s the safest way to do so. The open-heart surgery earlier made use of large incision in the chest and stopping the heart for some time to repair or replace the valves. Nowadays, less invasive methods (using smaller incision and in some cases, by percutaneous method) are used to do the same, which ensures shorter stay in the hospital with less pain post-surgery.
When one or more valves become stiff, the heart needs to perform extra efforts to pump blood through the valve. The valves turn inflexible and narrow due to infection and even as a part of aging. In case of a leaky valve, the blood leaks backward due and it leads to lesser blood pumping in the right direction. Depending on the situation, the doctor decides if the valves need to be replaced or repaired.
Valve replacement surgery is an effective and life-saving option, especially for the people with aortic and mitral valve diseases. Depending on the risk factors, the specialist recommends the appropriate valve replacement; however, in some cases, more than one valve may have to be repaired or replaced. Double valve replacement surgery is done when a person is suffering from diseases in both the valves.
The traditional replacement surgery of the aortic and mitral valve requires a cut over the chest and sternum. A surgical instrument is used to open and spread apart the sternum providing the surgeon access to the heart and chest. Some surgeries are performed using minimally invasive/percutaneous techniques that don’t require the opening of the chest. One can generally feel immediate improvement after the surgery.
Recovery period lies between 6 to 12 weeks after which the patient can resume a healthy lifestyle.
An even more complicated procedure, where usually two valves are replaced and the third, tricuspid valve is repaired.
Chief of Cardiac Surgery & HOD