Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know

Roseous.com - Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know. Heart valve surgery is a surgical procedure performed with the aim of repairing or replacing a damaged heart valve. The heart valve must be repaired if you experience abnormalities that cause it to not function properly. Conditions that can cause heart valves to experience dysfunction are stiffness (stenosis) or leakage (regurgitation).

Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know
Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know
The heart has 4 valves that regulate the flow of blood when the organ is pumping blood, and functions as a barrier to the heart space. Among others are:
  • Tricuspid valve. Tricuspid valve is a valve that is the border between the right atrium (porch) and right ventricle (chamber) of the heart.
  • Mitral valve. The mitral valve is a valve that is the border between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart.
  • Pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve or pulmonary valve is a valve that regulates blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries.
  • Aortic valve. The aortic valve is a valve that regulates blood flow from the left ventricle to the aortic vessels, and continues throughout the body.


Heart valve disease is caused by the heart valve not closing or opening perfectly, so that the blood flow to the heart becomes disrupted. In heart valve surgery, valves that experience abnormalities can be repaired or replaced. After this operation, the patient needs to be hospitalized at the hospital.

Heart Valve Operation Technique

Heart valve surgery is usually performed with 2 techniques, namely repairing the heart valve that has an abnormality or replacing it. Heart valve repair is done in two ways, namely closing the valve that has a leak, or repairing and widening the valve opening that has narrowing or stiffness. One method that can be done to overcome heart valve leakage is annuloplasty, which strengthens the muscles of the heart valve and closes the leak using a heart valve ring. Whereas for widening the heart valve openings, valvuloplasty technique can be done, which widens the valve opening with the help of a special balloon.

If heart valve abnormalities cannot be corrected by overcoming leaks or widening openings, doctors can recommend patients to undergo heart valve replacement. In this procedure, the heart valve that has an abnormality will be replaced with a new one. The new heart valve that will be installed can be a prosthetic valve of plastic or metal, or it can also be a biological valve taken from the tissues of a human or animal body.

Indications for heart valve surgery

Patients will be recommended for heart valve surgery if they have heart valve abnormalities that cause symptoms, such as:
  • Chest pain.
  • Heart beat.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Get tired quickly.
  • Lips and fingertips turn blue (cyanosis).
  • Edema, which is swelling in the legs or abdomen due to fluid buildup.
  • Drastic weight gain due to fluid buildup.


If there are any of these symptoms, the doctor will examine the patient's health in general and examine the condition of the patient's heart, to find abnormalities in the heart valve and determine whether or not heart valve surgery is necessary.

Warning for heart valve surgery

Heart valve surgery is a complicated medical procedure. There are several conditions that need to be watched before undergoing heart valve surgery, because it is feared to cause complications. These conditions include:
  • Not long ago suffered a heart attack.
  • Has cardiomyopathy.
  • There is a lump or blood clot in the heart.
  • Have severe pulmonary hypertension in the lungs.
  • Experiencing weakness of the left ventricular heart muscle which causes the volume of blood pumping to decrease.
  • Suffering from end-stage renal failure.

Preparation of Heart Valve Surgery

Before undergoing heart valve surgery, the doctor will explain to the patient and his family, the details of the operating procedure and the side effects and preparations that will be carried out. Patients will be asked to be accompanied by family, from before surgery to undergoing recovery through hospitalization at the hospital. The patient's family will also be given direction by the doctor regarding the postoperative recovery process, along with steps to help recovery of the patient.

The doctor will conduct a general health check for the patient before performing heart valve surgery. In addition, patients will undergo a blood test to see blood clotting ability. If the patient is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, having an allergy to latex, anesthetic, or other drugs that will be used during surgery, must inform the doctor. Likewise if the patient has a device attached to the heart, such as a pacemaker.

Patients will be asked to fast 8 hours before surgery, usually starting at midnight if surgery is done in the morning. Patients will also be asked to stop smoking before surgery. If patients take blood thinning drugs, such as aspirin, they will be asked to stop taking the drug temporarily.

Heart Valve Operating Procedure

At the stage before surgery, patients will be asked to change their clothes first and wear special surgical clothing. Patients will also be asked to remove their jewelry, both from metal and non-metal. Patients also need to urinate before surgery. To accommodate the urine that comes out during surgery, the patient will be fitted with a catheter.

The heart valve surgery procedure will begin with the manufacture of skin slices in the chest area. Skin slices are made from the bottom of the neck to reach the chest. If the patient's chest has thick hair, the hair will be shaved before surgery. Patients will undergo heart valve surgery in a state of unconsciousness due to general anesthesia. After the patient is given anesthesia, the doctor will install a breathing apparatus and transesophageal echocardiography device (TEE) through the esophagus to monitor the condition of the heart valve during surgery.

After the incision is made, the doctor will then split the patient's breastbone so that he can access the heart from the outside. The patient will be given medication to stop the heart, then the patient's body will be connected to the heart lung machine so that the blood continues to flow, during the operation.

The doctor will then make a heart valve repair. The method of heart valve repair performed by a doctor in general can be:
  • Closing holes that form on the heart valve.
  • Throw away tissue that causes the heart valve to not close completely.
  • Reconnecting a separate or not fully formed heart valve.
  • Separating fused valves.
  • Strengthens tissue around the heart valve.
  • Replacing muscle tissue that strengthens the heart valve.


However, if the heart valve cannot be repaired, the doctor will perform a heart valve replacement. To perform heart valve replacement, the doctor does not just make an incision on the skin and open the breastbone. The doctor will also make an incision in the blood vessels of the large artery (aorta), for access to replace the heart valve. After aortic incision is made, the doctor will remove the damaged heart valve and replace it with a new valve. Once installed, the doctor will then close the aortic incision that has been made again.

When the replacement procedure or repair of the heart valve is complete, the doctor will reactivate the patient's heart with a cardiac shock device. After the heart beats again, the doctor can install a pacemaker during the recovery period to keep the heart rate normal. The breastbone that is opened will be closed again with a special suture thread to be able to reunite. Skin incisions are also covered with ordinary sewing threads and sterile bandages are installed to prevent infection. The patient will then be taken to the intensive care room for recovery at the hospital.

After heart valve surgery

The patient will undergo postoperative treatment and recovery in the ICU for several days. Generally the duration of hospitalization that patients will undergo is around 5-7 days before being allowed to go home and outpatient. During treatment in the ICU, patients will be monitored for their condition by doctors and officers through monitoring:
  • Blood pressure
  • Oxygen levels in the blood
  • Breathing rate
  • Electrocardiography


During the period of hospitalization, the patient is still fitted with a breathing apparatus to maintain the respiratory rate of the patient, especially during the initial period of hospitalization after having just undergone surgery. Respiratory aids are installed to maintain the rate of breathing when the patient is still feeling the effects of anesthesia. If the anesthetic effect has been reduced or disappeared, the doctor can remove the breathing apparatus and other officers will help the patient to train breathing so that the patient can avoid pneumonia.

The patient can feel pain in the surgery due to the incision and opening of the breastbone. To relieve the pain, the patient will be given pain medication as needed. The patient can also feel discomfort when breathing when the breathing apparatus has been removed, but it is only temporary. At the beginning of the recovery period the patient will have difficulty eating and drinking, so that the patient's nutritional intake is carried out through an IV. After the patient starts to be comfortable to swallow, the doctor will arrange the food that can be given to the patient, from fine to dense food if the patient can eat.

If the patient has recovered, the patient will be allowed to return by the doctor to be picked up by the family. During the early days of the outpatient recovery period, patients are not allowed to carry out heavy physical activity and drive the vehicle. The former surgical area must be kept dry and clean. Patients will need family help to carry out daily activities during the outpatient period. The doctor will set the patient's control schedule for several weeks postoperatively to monitor the patient's recovery process. Patients will also be asked to stop smoking to accelerate wound healing.

Depending on the type of valve used in valve replacement operations, especially if a prosthetic valve is used, patients will be advised to take blood-thinning medications for life to prevent blood clots from forming in the artificial valve. When blood clots form, risk of causing heart attacks and strokes. 

The recommended blood thinning drug is warfarin.

Risk of heart valve surgery Heart valve surgery is safe to live. So far, it is known that the success rate of heart valve surgery is around 98%. However, keep in mind that heart valve surgery is a medical procedure that also has side effects. Side effects that can be experienced by patients, including: Bleeding. Infection. Blood clotting. Stroke New heart valve disorders undergoing repair or replacement. Heart attack. Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Pancreatitis. Pneumonia. Respiratory disorders. Dead. To be aware of the occurrence of infection, patients and families must pay attention to the following symptoms: 
  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Blood clotting.
  • Stroke
  • New heart valve disorders undergoing repair or replacement.
  • Heart attack.
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Respiratory disorders.
  • Dead.


Read more: 7 Healthy Foods that Almost Contain Zero Calories.

To be aware of the occurrence of infection, patients and families must pay attention to the following symptoms:
  • Fever.
  • Shivering.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Pain in the operating area.
  • Redness, swelling, bleeding, and discharge at the site of surgery.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Heart rate accelerates or becomes irregular.
  • If the symptoms of the infection appear, the patient or family needs to contact the doctor immediately so that it can be handled.
Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know Important things about heart valve surgery that you need to know Reviewed by ROSEOUS COM on August 24, 2018 Rating: 5
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