Yes, a heart valve repair in most of the conditions involves an open-heart surgical procedure. According to this, cardiac surgeons open the chest of a patient and the heart for repairing the defective/diseased heart valve.
When Heart Valve Repair is Essential?
Cardiologist and cardiac surgeons determine the requirement of heart valve repair based on specific condition of a patient. For this, they collect the following important information associated with the present condition of the heart valve and perform a few important diagnostic tests, which include-
Listening: Listening to the heartbeat to track both open and close of the four valves and flow of blood from each of them.
Echocardiogram: Echocardiogram involves the usage of sound waves for producing various detailed images of one’s heart. This is a common test used primarily for identifying the repair requirement of any heat valve.
MRI: Cardiologists perform an MRI i.e. Magnetic Resonance Imaging study that involves application of radio waves and a magnetic field to collect detailed images of the internal areas of one’s heart.
X Ray: X-ray image of the chest to check the heart, lungs and major heart vessels and detect the presence of any abnormality.
Echocardiogram to measure the electrical impulses emitted from the heart and thereby to provide information about heart’s size and it’s rhythm.
How Heart Valve Repair Takes Place?
Procedure involved in the repair of heart valve depends primarily on the respective valve that suffers damage. This means, repair option is preferable in case of damaged mitral and tricuspid valves. However, in case of aortic valve, cardiac surgeons go with the option of replacement surgery.
Common Procedures to Perform Heart Valve Repair
Cardiologists often go with the following surgical procedures to perform heart valve repair:
Balloon Valvotomy: Surgeons will recommend this procedure when patients do not require an open-heart surgery. The procedure involves insertion of a catheter i.e. a thin and a flexible tube with a small size of deflated balloon at the tip within the artery of patient’s groin/arm and guide within the narrowed valve. Balloon in this case inflates quickly to stretch the opening of the heart valve and helps in higher amount of blood flow from it.
Commissurotomy: In case a patient has narrow valve because of thick leaflets or sticking of leaflets together, cardiac surgeons perform commissurotomy, in which they open the heart valve by simply incising the joining points of leaflets.
Ring Annuloplasty: Whenever a heart valve loses its strength or its shape, it becomes impossible to close it tightly. In this situation, annuloplasty provides support to leaflets with the help of various ring-like devices, which surgeons attach across the outer areas of the patients’ heart valve openings.
Reshaping of Valves: If any valve lost its actual shape and fails to close completely, surgeons may cut out a particular leaflet piece to close it properly again.
Decalcification: With time, deposition of calcium takes place that prevents the heart valves from closing properly. If this takes place, surgeons remove the calcium formation from leaflets and thereby, allow the normal function of your heart.
Repair: We know that chords are responsible to give support to heart valves. However, sometimes, chords become weak and stretch to prevent proper function of heart valve/valves. Repair of such chords help in normal closing of the heart valve.
Patching: If a patient has a tear or hole in any of the heart valve leaflet, cardiac surgeons opt to repair it by using a tissue patch.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: Minimally invasive surgery involves the usage of a mini or a small incision in the breastbone/sternum or beneath the pectoral muscle of one’s chest to help in accessing the heart valve.
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