The heart has four valves, which open and close to regulate the flow of blood through different parts of the heart, as well as ensuring that it only travels in one direction. The aortic and mitral valves are on the left side of the heart and the pulmonary and tricuspid valves are on the right.
A condition called valvular heart disease can cause these valves to either become narrowed or leaky. Narrowing of a valve (stenosis) prevents blood flowing properly though it, whilst a leaky valve allows blood to flow in the wrong direction. In both cases the result is that the heart cannot get enough blood in the areas that it is needed. If a heart valve surgery is required to restore the flow of blood through these valves a patient will either have their valve(s) repaired or replaced.
Valve replacement surgery is the replacement of one or more of the heart valves with either an artificial heart valve, which can be made from a combination of metal and carbon (a mechanical valve) or a ‘bioprosthesis’ (a valve that is made from animal tissues or a human cadaver). If a valve can be repaired this may involve separating fused flaps, removing, reshaping or adding tissue.
In adult cardiac surgery, three valves are commonly repaired or replaced: the aortic, mitral and tricuspid valves.
#1 Aortic Valve Surgery
Aortic valve surgery is done to repair or replace an aortic valve that isn't working correctly. The aortic valve lets blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta – body’s main blood vessel. It is aorta that distributes blood throughout the body.
#2 Mitral Valve Repair Surgery
Mitral Valve Repair Surgery is done to repair a mitral valve which might not be working as it should be due to valvular heart disease. Mitral valve can have 2 types of malfunctioning:
Regurgitation: The valve doesn't close completely, causing blood to flow backward instead of forward through the valve.
Stenosis: The valve does not open properly or becomes narrow, inhibiting the flow of blood out of the chambers of the heart.
#3 Tricuspid Valve Surgery
The role of tricuspid valve is to make sure blood flows the correct way through the heart, from the right atrium down to the ventricle. In some people, this valve does not function correctly, and they are said to have tricuspid valve disease. Tricuspid valve disease is rare compared with other types of valve disease. Patient with this conditions are suggested with Tricuspid Valve Surgery.
#4 Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
Your consultant may decide whether your diseased valve(s) requires a repair or replacement. Traditionally heart valve replacement surgery involves an open heart surgery.
Heart valve surgery (repair or replacement) may be needed if you have a severe conditions with heart valves dysfunction. It is basically suggested to repair or replace heart valves that are not working properly due to valvular heart disease (also called heart valve disease).
If a valve is not working correctly, blood flow and the delicate network of blood vessels that carry oxygen throughout the body are affected.
What causes valvular heart disease?
There are several reasons that your heart valves may not work properly. Ultimately diseased heart valves interrupts the normal blood flow through the heart. Several reasons are as follows: Endocarditis – an infection on valve tissue, rheumatic fever, calcification, congenital defects, ischemia and degenerative disease.
How is valvular heart disease treated?
In general, there are two options to treat valvular heart disease: one is to repair your diseased valve, and the other is to replace your diseased valve with a prosthetic valve.
How can my heart valve can be replaced?
Valve replacement can be performed with a conventional, full open-chest or through less invasive or minimal incision approaches as well.
What is a prosthetic valve?
The prosthetic valves usually comes in two different types: a mechanical valve (primarily carbon) or a tissue valve (animal tissue mainly pig’s aorta or pericardium of a cow).
Should I have a mechanical valve or a tissue valve?
You should discuss this concern with your consultant doctor as there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Usually choosing a valve for replacement depends on option that best fits your lifestyle and your goals.
How soon after surgery can I resume normal activity?
Typically, recovery takes from 4 to 8 weeks, although minimally invasive approaches are often associated with more rapid recovery. During this time, you’ll gradually regain your energy and will be able to return to your normal routine.