Aortic Valve Replacement is a surgery carried out to treat a severe medical ailment, Aortic stenosis, which is a condition that is a result of the aortic valve of the heart getting narrowed over time. This valve, under normal conditions, is responsible for allowing blood flow to be pumped from the main chamber of your heart to the rest of the body organs. However, when this valve's opening is considerably narrowed, the pressure on the heart muscle increases. This in turn, likely leads to numerous symptoms of chest discomfort, shortness of breath, leg swelling, fatigue, lightheadedness, syncope (passing out spells), and even sudden death. Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement is also carried out to treat Aortic regurgitation, a medical ailment in which the aortic valve does not close entirely causing the blood to leak back into the heart. However, Aortic regurgitation is not as severe as Aortic stenosis.
In adults, there are main conditions that drive the body towards Aortic Stenosis
● The most common cause of aortic stenosis is degenerative (age-related calcium deposits).
● Congenital disorders (bicuspid aortic valve) which is the progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve present since birth.
● Scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult.
Aortic valve stenosis can range on the scale from mild to severe. Aortic valve stenosis signs and symptoms generally manifest as a result of severe narrowing down of the valve. More often, these symptoms are recorded as a result of strenuous physical activity.
● Abnormal heart sound (heart murmur) that can be heard through a stethoscope
● Chest pain (angina) or tightness within the chest
● Feeling faint/dizzy or fainting as a result of activity
● Shortness of breath, especially out of the activity
● Fatigue, especially during times of increased activity
● Heart palpitations and convulsions: sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat
● Not eating enough ( mainly in children with Aortic Stenosis)
● Not gaining enough weight (mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis.
The valve that the surgeon uses during the Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery is mainly of two types i.e. Mechanical and Biological.
● Mechanical valves are made of artificial elements like Titanium, Teflon, Carbon. They last a long time and don't wear off in the body after replacing the original aortic valve. However, after the implantation of Mechanical valves in the body, your doctor may advise you to take blood-thinning medication for the rest of your life.
● Biological valves, as the name suggests are made of composite or bio-prosthetic materials, often extracted from animal tissue of a cow or a pig. These valves, however, have a lifetime of 15-20 years, which means you may be required to get a second valve replacement done later. These valves may not require you to consume blood-thinning medicines. Biological valves are more commonly used in aortic valve replacement operations than mechanical valves.
Before your heart valve replacement surgery, a strong dosage of anaesthesia is administered to you in order to put you into a deep sleep till the time the surgery is performed. As soon as you are induced sleep, the surgeon makes a wide cut around the breastbone area to get access to your heart where the aortic valve replacement will take place. In order to perform the surgery, the surgeon needs to a motionless and bloodless field. In order to keep the body functioning even when the heart is stopped, a device known as a heart-lung bypass machine is hinged to the body which is which will pump the blood in your body just like the original heart does. This device will function till the time the aortic valve replacement surgery is complete. The diseased aortic valve is removed and replaced with a mechanical or bioprosthetic valve. The surgeon ensures that all new connections to the valves are made fine before the heart is restarted. The incision is then closed with stitches.
Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement is a very delicate surgery which may carry some risks. However, if you get the Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement done from well-renowned hospitals in India, therefore, Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement in India is a very good option. Here are the few risks of heart valve replacement:
● High fever
● Great pain at the incision site.
● Swelling in some body parts like abdomen or legs
● Blood pressure
● Extreme weakness for the first few weeks
Aortic Valve Replacement Recovery takes about 3-4 months whereas a patient, you have to keep away from activities that cause any exertion. Most people return to their homes after spending 4-7 days in the hospital post surgery while 15-20% may need to spend a while at the rehabilitation centre for complete recovery.