How Serious Is Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?

Cardiologists recommend for heart valve repair or replacement surgery to patients to deal with various problems taking place because of one or more than one diseased heart valves. If heart valve suffers damage or becomes diseased, individuals mainly have a few common symptoms.

These are chest pain, dizziness, breathing shortness or difficulties in inhale/exhale process, palpitations, swelling of body parts (abdomen, ankles and feet commonly) or Edema, rapid gain of body weight because of fluid retention. Besides this, there may be a few other reasons, for which your doctor recommend for heart valve replacement surgery.

How Serious Is Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?

Heart Valve Replacement Surgery Procedure

Procedure in heart valve replacement surgery involves the following major steps-

Incision: In case of an open-heart surgery, your cardiologist will perform an incision across the center of your chest to up to the navel. However, in case of any less invasive procedure, you may undergo with small incisions.

Breastbone Sternum: Now, doctors cut the breastbone or sternum in two different halves and spread them properly for exposing the heart.

Artificial Pumping Action via Bypass Machine: In order to perform the heart valve replacement, cardiologists stop the functions performed by one’s heart and place suitable tubes to continue the pumping action for the specific period when your heart remains stopped.

Removal of Diseased Valve: Once your heart stops its function, doctors will remove the damaged/diseased valve and put an artificial valve to perform valve replacement.

Removal of Placed Bypass Machine and Tubes: Once the surgery completes, doctors again allow the circulation of blood from bypass machine to reenter the heart, while simultaneously, they remove the tubes and the bypass machine. In this situation, your heart will experience some shocks with a few small paddles, so that your regular heartbeat starts again.

Monitor the Functions of Replaced Valve: Once the heartbeat starts again, doctors will monitor the functions of both your heart and valves (both existing and the replaced one) to make sure that there is no leakage from the open-heart surgery process.

Putting of Wires for Pacing: Wires for pacing can be placed to a pacemaker placed outside of the patient’s body for a short time. This helps in pacing the heart if required during the patient’s initial recovery period.

Rejoining of Sternum and Sewing with Small Wires: Now, doctors will rejoin the sternum and sew them together by using small wires, while close the incision by using surgical staples or sutures.

Draining Out the Blood and Application of Dressing: Finally, doctors will place tubes in the chest for draining out the blood and other residual fluids across the heart, while the tubes connected to a nearby suction device. To complete the procedure, doctors place a dressing or a sterile bandage.

How Serious Is Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?

Seriousness or severity associated with heart valve replacement surgery depends on various risks, which patients may bear after undergoing for the surgery.

Major Risks

Improper Function of the Replaced Heart Valve: For a large number of reasons, the replaced heart valve may fail to function in the right way, as it should. Despite is a rare condition; if it takes place, patients have to undergo with further surgeries for proper treatment.

Arrhythmias: Another big risk associated with the open-heart valve replacement surgery is arrhythmia, referred to as abnormal heart rhythms/heartbeats. This may take place among patients post-surgery, but they are often temporary and curable with proper medications.

Other Risks

Besides the aforementioned ones, patients may bear a few other possible risks associated with heart valve replacement. These are:

Excessive Bleeding After Or During The Surgical Procedure: Clotting of bloods, which further leads to chest pain, stroke, heart attack, breathing shortness, lung problems and similar others.

Infection: Probability to cause any infection at incised places and pneumonia problems. However, by following the necessary precautions both during hospital stay and in home, you may avoid the mentioned problems largely.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 17, 2018

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