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Valve Replacement & Valve Opening

Introduction


Several conditions of the Aortic Valves such as Aortic Valve Stenosis and Aortic Valve Regurgitation call for replacement of the affected valves which is attained by performing surgery. The course of action taken for valve replacement is an open-heart surgery.
Some people have the option of minimally invasive method to replace the aortic valve. These techniques include a catheter procedure. Only some hospitals offer these surgical options to its patients, Metro Hospitals is being one of them. Metro Heart Institute is one of the largest heart hospitals of its kind in the country which has established flawless proven record of performing large number of such cases successfully.

Valve Replacement


The need for heart valve repair or replacement surgery may arise when valves are damaged or diseased and do not work well. Conditions like valve stenosis (stiffening or narrowing of valve) and valve regurgitation (leaky valve) are cured by replacing the faulty valves with artificial valves (either mechanical or tissue valves).

Valve Opening


Valve Stenosis occurs when a valve doesn't open fully. The valve may have become hardened or stiff with calcium deposits or scarring. Some reasons why heart valves become narrow and stiff include infection (such as rheumatic fever or staphylococcus infections) and aging. Stiffening or arrowing of valve(s) requires the heart to pump the blood more powerfully through the valve(s).

Treatments


Medical care is essential once heart disease is diagnosed, with the goals of stabilizing the condition immediately, controlling symptoms over the long term, and providing a cure when possible.
Repairing or replacing valves through Catheter procedures (Non-Surgical)- In this procedure, a thin tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel (in the groin or arm) and is threaded to the heart guided by imaging techniques. The catheter enables the surgeon to have a better view of the inside on a video monitor and conduct the surgery.
A catheter procedure known as balloon valvuloplasty or valvotomy is another less invasive technique for repairing heart valves that cannot open fully (stenosis). During this procedure, a catheter (thin tube) possessing a balloon at it’s tip is threaded through a blood vessel (in the groin or arm) to the narrowed valve in the heart. The balloon is inflated to help widen the valve. The surgeon then deflates the balloon and removes it along with the catheter. During valvuloplasty, the patient is kept under the effect of a general anaesthetic which usually doesn’t cause sedation.
Open-heart surgery- When the condition can’t be managed solely by medications, an open-heart surgery might be recommended. This surgery is carried out under the influence of general anaesthesia and requires the use of a heart-lung machine to substitute the essential functions of the heart and the lungs during the surgery. A small cut is placed between the child's ribs to reach his heart or the damaged valve and the defect is repaired using stitches or clips. In cases where heart valves are severely damaged, the damaged valves may be replaced by artificial valves (made from animal valves or human valves taken from donors).
The duration largely depends upon the number of valves to be replaced or repaired. After the surgery, the child is kept in the hospital for several days for observation. It usually takes a few weeks for a child to fully recover from open-heart surgery.
Minimally Invasive Cathetric procedures (Non-Surgical) have a shorter recovery time than surgery. They are often preferred over surgical repair or replacement as they are less painful. Catheter procedures are performed on an outpatient basis which means the patient is probably not required to stay overnight in the hospital.