Heart valve replacement surgery is typically recommended when a heart valve is not functioning properly. If it isn’t treated, the valve may weaken further, causing damage to the heart or other organs. Signs that you may need heart valve replacement surgery include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue.
Here, we look at what heart valve replacement surgery is, and the best time to undergo the procedure.
What is heart valve replacement surgery?
Heart valve replacement surgery is a procedure in which a damaged or malfunctioning heart valve is replaced with a new one. The new valve can be made of biological tissue (tissue valve) or mechanical (man-made) materials.
The surgery is done to restore the proper flow of blood through the heart and is typically carried out when a valve is narrowed, leaking, or not functioning properly. This can improve the symptoms and prevent long-term complications caused by the malfunctioning valve.
The procedure is usually performed as open-heart surgery, which involves making an incision in the chest and stopping the heart temporarily. However, in some cases, a minimally invasive approach can be used. The success rate of this surgery is high, and the patient’s recovery and prognosis will depend on the overall health, the patient’s age, and the type of valve replacement done.
When is the best time to undergo heart valve replacement surgery?
The best timing of the surgery can depend on the specific condition of the valve, the overall health of the patient, and the presence of other medical conditions. In general, it’s usually recommended to have surgery as soon as possible when the patient has severe symptoms, a rapidly deteriorating valve, or when there is a high risk of it causing serious complications such as heart failure, embolism, or infection.
In cases where the valve is not causing symptoms, or is not progressing rapidly, surgery may be delayed, allowing the patient to recover from other medical conditions, or to monitor the valve condition before making a decision.
It’s also important to note that the ideal type of valve replacement will depend on the specific condition of the valve, the patient’s age and medical condition, and other factors such as the surgeon’s experience.
For more advice on heart valve replacement surgery, book an appointment with Dr Konrad Grosser today.