Heart valve repair is preferable among cardiac surgeons when heart valves suffer damages or face diseases and fail to work in the way they should. Conditions in this case may include stiffness or stenosis of heart valves and the problem of valve regurgitation, known commonly as leaky valve.
Whenever one or two valves of the heart become stenotic or stiff, the heart has to work relatively hard for pumping out the blood from the stiff valve. On the other side, in case of leaky valves, leakage of blood takes place in backward direction, which further indicates pumping of blood in relatively less amount in the right direction. Based on individual symptoms and overall cardiac condition of a patient, doctors may decide about the requirement of diseased valve repair surgery.
How Long Do Heart Valve Repairs Last?
Mitral heart valve – A successful mitral heart valve repair will last between 10 to 20 years.
Aortic Heart Valve – Aortic heart valve repair by using animal or human tissue will last for 10 to 20 years. A mechanical valve lasts much longer, but the patient has to take blood thinners.
Tricuspid Valve and Pulmonic Valve – Both these valve repairs also can be done by using animal/human tissue or by use of mechanical valve and they last anywhere between 10 to 20 years for animal/human tissue valves and 25+ years for a mechanical valve.
Open Heart Surgery for Heart Valve Repair
Open-heart surgery is preferable to repair the damaged or diseased heart valves. This means doctors have to make a big incision in the chest and stop the heart for some time to repair the damaged or diseased heart valve. Alternatively, doctors go with a few minimally invasive types of procedures to make small incisions and thereby, lead to less pain later on and relatively short stay in hospitals.
Objectives Behind Heart Valve Repair Surgery
Cardiac surgeons focus on heart valve repair to correct various problems, which may take place because of one, two or more than two diseased heart valves. In such situations, a patient may experience the following major symptoms-
- Chest pain
- Difficulties in taking breath
- Swelling in your abdominal area and lower body areas
- Weight gain at the rapid rate because of fluid retention.
Success Rate of Heart Valve Repair
If you dedicate your time to know the scenario of heart valve repair, you will find that mean success rate associated with open-heart surgery (preferred often by surgeons) is approximately equal to 98 percent. Moreover, follow-up research studies related to heart valve repair done via open-heart surgery have highlighted that most of the patients have succeeded to improve their poor functions of heart muscles successfully. Poor heart muscles may cause in patients in the past because of heart attack or stroke. Improved supply of blood thus helps in stimulating the damaged heart muscles to allow its contraction with relatively higher amount of force.
As we know, no surgery takes place without risks. Hence, possible risks related to heart valve repair-
- Bleeding either at the time of or after the surgery
- Clotting of blood, which may further result in stroke, heart attack or lung problems
- Pneumonia and other infections
- Breathing problems
- Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmia.
Other than this, you may bear a few other risks depending primarily on your individual medical condition. Thus, it is essential for you to make sure about discussing any of your concerns with your doctor before you should undergo with the surgical procedure.
Besides risks, the procedure involves a few complications, such as infections, strokes, kidney failure and arrhythmias may take place post your heart surgery. A few people, particularly the one exceeding 70 years age and deal with lung problems or hypertension may usually experience complications after the heart surgery. In addition, individuals in a habit of consuming excessive alcohol experience decline in the memory and intellectual functions after their open-heart surgery. However, in most of the cases, individuals regain the memory and various intellectual abilities within a period of 6 to 12 months.
Heart valve repair via open-heart surgery is an effective solution to cure a large number of cardiac problems and related symptoms. Although, the procedure has some risks and complications, cardiac surgeons may perform it on both young and old patients. Indeed, the surgery gives positive results on individuals not dealing with any risk factor, such as diabetes, kidney problems or hypertension.