Valve Replacement Surgery
Valvular heart disease is a form of heart disease that occurs when one or more of the four heart valves do not function properly. Valve replacement surgery may be an option if the heart valves are too fragile, scarred, or otherwise damaged to repair.
Reasons For The Valve Replacement
Heart valves are responsible for allowing nutrient-rich blood to flow through the chambers of the heart. Each valve should close completely after introducing blood flow. Diseased heart valves cannot always do their job as they should.
Stenosis, or a narrowing of blood vessels, causes less blood than normal to flow to the heart. This forces the muscle to work harder. Leaking tubes can also be a problem. Instead of closing tightly, a valve can remain slightly open, allowing blood to flow backwards. This is called regurgitation. Signs of valvular heart disease can include:
· Being lightheaded
· Difficulty breathing
· Chest pain
· Water retention, especially in the lower limbs
Heart valve repair is also a solution for valvular heart disease. In some people, the damage is too advanced and total replacement of the affected valve is the only option.
Types of the Replacement Valves
Mechanical and biological valves are used to replace defective valves. Mechanical valves are man-made components that serve the same purpose as a natural heart valve. They are created with carbon and polyester materials that are well tolerated by the human body. They can last from 10 to 20 years. However, one of the risks associated with mechanical valves is the formation of blood clots. If you get a mechanical heart valve, you will need to take blood thinners for the rest of your life to reduce the risk of stroke.
Biological valves, also called bioprosthetic valves, are created from human or animal tissue. There are three types of biological heart valves:
· An allograft or homograft consists of tissue removed from the heart of a human donor.
· A swine valve is made from pig tissue. This valve can be implanted with or without a frame called a stent.
· A bovine valve is made from cow tissue. It connects to your heart with silicone rubber.
Biological valves do not increase the risk of developing blood clots. This means that you probably won't have to take blood-thinning medications for life. A bioprosthesis does not last as long as a mechanical valve and may require replacement at a later time.
Your doctor will recommend the type of heart valve you get based on:
· General health