The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, and it regulates blood flow between the two. The aortic valve opens to allow blood to flow into the aorta and the rest of the body. If the left ventricle relaxes, the aortic valve closes, preventing blood from flowing back into the left ventricle.
For many reasons, the aortic valve can malfunction and suffer from stenosis, which is the narrowing of the aortic valve, or regurgitation, which causes the blood to flow back to the heart. The aortic valve can also be deformed at birth or be missing a valve opening or tissue flaps. Symptoms of a problem with an aortic valve include heart murmur, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, and fatigue.
A heart surgeon can fix problems with the aortic valve using aortic valve replacement. Let’s discuss what to expect in an aortic valve replacement procedure.
The Procedure: Aortic Valve Replacement
An aortic valve replacement is a surgery to replace the diseased or malfunctioning aortic valve with either an artificial valve or a tissue valve. The surgeon can use either an open or minimally invasive technique, which requires smaller stitches. Whichever technique is used, an aortic valve replacement requires anesthesia, which means you will be asleep and hooked to a heart-lung machine during the procedure.
As a first step, the doctor makes several incisions in the chest, either through your chest bone or between the ribs, through which the specialized instruments will pass and allow the doctor to remove the current aortic valve and replace it with a mechanical valve or a valve made from cow, pig, or human tissue. Your heart will gradually take over the work of circulation before you are removed from the heart-lung machine. Lastly, the surgeon will close up the incisions, and you will be transferred to the ICU or a recovery room.
What Happens After Aortic Valve Replacement?
You will be required to stay at the hospital for several days after the procedure to ensure no complications occur. Someone should drive you home after the procedure. Keep up with your follow-up appointments and be vigilant about signs of infection and monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and weight while in recovery. If a minimally invasive technique is used, you can expect to recover faster, but do take time to rest and slowly regain your strength. Focus on your recovery and follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding diet, activities, and exercise.
Aortic Valve Replacement Procedure in Palm Beach, FL
An aortic valve replacement can improve blood flow through the heart and body, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and improve quality of life by reducing the symptoms of a problematic aortic valve. For such a complex procedure, choose only a highly experienced heart surgeon that specializes in the procedure. The board-certified interventional cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institutes, Dr. Eli S. Levine and Dr. Michael Schechter, specialize in cutting-edge cardiac procedures, including minimally invasive aortic valve replacement for less pain and a faster and more comfortable recovery for our patients. We also offer concierge cardiology for patients who seek special, VIP treatment from our doctors.
Advanced Heart and Vascular Institutes is proud to serve the Palm Beach community and has helped restore the health of our patients through advanced and comprehensive cardiology care. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Levine or Dr. Schecter, call our office today at (561) 235-5621 or use our convenient online appointment request form.