Heart valve surgery is a risky and intricate process. Consultation with the best doctors for aortic valve replacement in India is advisable for better outcomes. Heart valve replacement or repair can be performed in several ways. The most common way is through open-heart surgery that can be tricky. An individual’s need for heart valve surgery depends on several factors, including his or her health, age, and the extent of the disease.
The purpose of heart valve surgery
Heart valve disease falls into two main categories:
- Stenosis (The narrowing of a valve)
- Regurgitation (A leak in a valve that causes blood to flow backward)
Heart valve surgery treats diseases of the valves. One or more of the four heart valves may not function properly when a person has heart valve disease. The heart valves are responsible for keeping blood flowing as it should.
There are four heart valves: the mitral valve, the tricuspid valve, the pulmonary valve, and the aortic valve. There are flaps on each valve – known as leaflets on the mitral and tricuspid valves and cusps on the aortic and pulmonary valves. Each heartbeat should cause these flaps to open and close. The blood flow through the heart is disrupted when valves do not open and close properly.
When your heart cannot pump blood effectively due to disease, you may need heart valve surgery. Your doctor might advise you to undergo regular monitoring if you do not have symptoms or the condition is mild. A change in lifestyle and medication may assist in managing symptoms.
Even people without symptoms may be recommended for based on medical diagnosis. However, suppose you are undergoing heart surgery for some other reason. In that case, the best doctors for aortic valve replacement in India can repair or replace the heart valve during the same procedure. With your doctor’s guidance, you should determine whether heart valve surgery is the right treatment for you and whether minimally invasive heart surgery is a viable alternative.
The risks associated with heart valve surgery
The following are possible risks associated with heart valve surgery:
- Heart attack
- Problems with valves that have been replaced
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
Preparation for surgery
Doctors and members of your medical team will answer your queries about your heart valve surgery. Talk to your family before you undergo heart valve surgery. Discuss your stay in the hospital and the assistance you will need following your discharge.
Medication and food
You should discuss with your doctor the following before undergoing heart valve surgery:
- If you may take your regular medications and whether you should do so before the procedure.
- Any allergies to medications you have experienced
- When it is appropriate to stop eating and drinking the night before surgery
Clothes and personal items
You may have to bring several items to the hospital if you are having heart valve surgery, including:
- Eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures
- Comfortable, loose clothing
- Items that assist you in relaxing, such as music players and books
- A list of all medications that you are taking
- Items of personal care, such as a toothbrush, a comb, shaving equipment, etc
- A copy of your advance directive
Do not wear the following items while having heart valve surgery:
- Contact lenses
- Nail polish
Depending on the area where the incisions will be made, you may be required to shave your body hair. A disinfectant soap is used to wash your skin before the procedure.
You will be placed under anesthetics during the procedure, which will induce a sleep state. In addition, a heart-lung bypass machine will be attached to you. This device will ensure that blood continues to flow through your body during the procedure.
The open-heart procedure can be used for heart valve surgery. The procedure entails cutting the breastbone so that the chest can be accessed. Therefore, an open-heart procedure involves larger incisions than a minimally invasive procedure.
There might be a shorter hospital stay if a minimally invasive procedure is done. In addition, you will recover more quickly and experience less pain than if you underwent open-heart surgery. Therefore, medical centers with medical teams experienced in performing minimally invasive heart surgery should be the preferred venue for these procedures.
Post-surgery and Recovery
After the surgery, you will be transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) for monitoring. Fluids and medications will be administered by intravenous means. A bladder drain and a chest tube will drain fluid and blood from the body. You may be provided with oxygen via a mask or nasal prongs.
When your stay in the ICU is complete, you will most likely be transferred to a different hospital room for a few days. It depends on your condition, the extent of your surgery, and how long you will be hospitalized. The medical team will monitor your health following heart valve surgery and be vigilant for infections in the area of the incisions.
The best doctor for aortic valve replacement in India will assist with recovery and rehabilitation along with the actual procedure. Post-surgery, you will need to visit your doctor regularly for follow-up appointments. Your doctor may prescribe some tests to help determine your progress. In addition, you may be advised to change your lifestyle to maintain your heart’s health.