Heart Valve Surgery

DESCRIPTION
A heart valve surgery is done to repair or replace heart valves that aren’t functioning correctly. Due to abnormal functioning of the heart valves, there can be a blood flow blockage in the body, which may prove fatal to the patient.

Blood that flows through different chambers of the heart must flow through a heart valve. Even the blood that flows from the heart to the large arteries needs to go through the valves. These valves open up to ensure smooth flow of blood. Once the required amount of blood flows out, they then close to ensure no backwards flow. Out of the 4 heart valves – aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonic, aortic and mitral valve repair surgery are the most common.

If the heart valve isn’t opening correctly or if it is having problems closing, a cardiac surgeon might recommend a valve surgery to repair the valve and ensure blood flows through the heart chambers like it should.

INDICATIONS
Patients having heart problems are advised to see a cardiac doctor at the earliest in order to diagnose the exact heart disease. Some of the common symptoms of heart valve failures include:

  • Regular shortness of breath
  • Temporary loss of consciousness (also known as syncope)
  • Severe chest pain (clinically known as angina)
  • An infection called endocarditis that may damage the heart valves
  • Heart failure

Sometimes, patients who have undergone this surgery before might still have valve functioning problems due to infection, blood clots, bleeding or other health issues. In such cases as well, the doctor might have to re-operate.

PRE-PROCEDURE

  • The surgeon will require the complete medical history of the patient along with test reports of blood, ECG, chest X-ray and others diagnostic tests as prescribed
  • Pregnant patients must immediately inform the doctor about their pregnancy
  • Also, if the patient is allergic to any medications or anaesthetic agents (general or local), the doctor must be informed beforehand
  • Patients who are on medications that may alter blood clotting during the surgery might need to alter their medicines for some time
  • Also, patients who smoke regularly must quit at least a week before the surgery

DURING PROCEDURE
A heart valve repair is performed under general anaesthesia by an experienced cardiac surgeon. The following are the steps of the surgery:

  • First, the surgeon inserts an intravenous (IV) line in the patient’s arm and additional catheters in the wrist and neck in order to access the blood pressure and patient’s overall heart condition
  • Next, an incision is made in the chest, dividing the breastbone (sternum) into two halves and exposing the heart
  • The surgeon inserts the tube in the patient’s heart in order to circulate blood using a cardiopulmonary bypass machine
  • Once the blood is diverted into the machine, the heart is injected with a cold solution and then the valve is replaced
    If it needs to be repaired, the surgeon will either trim, reshape or rebuild the valve, depending on the problem
    Sometimes, the surgeon might also perform a Ring Annuloplasty wherein the ring-like part of the valve is repaired
    Once the valve replacement or repair is completed successfully, the surgeon restarts the heart using electric shock paddles

POST PROCEDURE
Normally, the patient will have to stay in the hospital for 5-7 days after the surgery. First, the patient is transferred to an ICU and monitored for about 24 hours after the operation. Once the heart is stable, he is then moved to the room and doctors and nurses will constantly review the progress. The overall recovery time of patients is largely dependent on your health before the operation and age. Pay attention to the care instructions given by your surgeon as a heart surgery takes ample of time to heal. You might be able to get back to your routine after a few months but you must be extremely careful about infections and overstressing to ensure no relapse in the surgical procedure.

RISK AND COMPLICATIONS
Cardiac surgery is one of the most difficult and sensitive operations in our body and thus, they often come with a fair share of risks and complications. Your surgeon will explain all the risks associated with a heart valve surgery to help you make the right call. Some of the known complications include:

  • Irregular heartbeat (known as arrhythmia)
  • Low fever and chest pain that may last for 6-months post-op
  • Temporary memory loss or confusion due to the heart-lung machine
  • Stroke or temporary or permanent brain injury
  • Bleeding that may require a re-operation
  • A heart attack or heart failure in rare cases

It is extremely important to take necessary precautions in order to prevent infections after a heart valve surgery. Speak to your doctor as you might need antibiotics before a dental surgery or any other invasive procedures done after this open heart surgery.

MORE INFO
The success rate of heart valve surgery in India is very high, giving International patients the comfort and relief of a prolonged and healthy life ahead. India is now a leading medical tourism destination in Asia and the world, due to the advanced medical facilities, experienced doctors and a cost-effective treatment plan. The cost of heart surgery in India starts at around Rs. 3 lakhs and can go up to Rs. 7-8 lakhs, based on the patient’s reports and the city and hospital you choose. Patients can be assured of a low-cost treatment without having to compromise on the quality of surgery in India.

If you or your family member needs a heart valve repair, contact us at +91-9999332093 and we will be happy to help you with the entire process.

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