What is Heart Valve Replacement?
Heart valve replacement surgery is an option if the valves of your heart are too fragile, scarred, or damaged. Valvular heart disease develops when one or more of the heart’s four valves do not function properly. There are four valves in the heart namely the mitral valve, aortic valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve. Each valve has flaps called leaflets, the mitral valve has only two leaflets; but the aortic, pulmonic and tricuspid valves have three. As the heart pumps blood, these valves open and close tightly. The valve ensures that blood flows in only one direction, preventing backflow.
This article will help you to understand Mitral valve replacement surgery.
What is Mitral Valve Replacement?
Mitral valve replacements are procedures that may be performed to treat diseases of the mitral valve which is located on the left side of the heart. Surgery may be required if the valve does not fully open or completely close. When the valve is too narrow, it makes it difficult for blood to enter. There are two basic types of mitral valve defects:
In mitral valve stenosis (narrowed valve opening), the leaflets become thick or stiff, and the valve is unable to open fully resulting in reduced blood flow from the left atria into the left ventricle.
In mitral valve regurgitation (leak in a heart valve), the flaps of the mitral valve do not close tightly, causing blood to leak backwards into the left atrium instead of moving forward into the left ventricle. When the valve does not close properly, blood can leak back into the lungs. This develops due to a congenital defect, infection, or degenerative disease. This commonly occurs due to valve leaflets bulging back a condition called mitral valve prolapse.
Once the mitral valve is damaged it loses the ability to pump blood, mitral valve replacement is recommended. But before the surgery, you will need to select the type of valve.
What are the Types of Valve Replacement?
As you plan for the surgery, you and your surgeon can decide which type of valve will work best for you. Then your surgeon will replace your valve with a biological valve or a mechanical valve based on your preference and medical condition.
Biological valves, also called bioprosthetic valves, are made from human heart tissue or animal tissue. Biological valves eventually need to be replaced, as they degenerate over time. Biological valves will not last as long as mechanical valves.
Mechanical valves are man-made and are created from carbon and polyester materials that the human body tolerates well. They can last between 10 to 20 years. Mechanical valves may have an increased risk of infection and stroke. Therefore, you will need to take blood-thinning medicine for the rest of your life to prevent blood clots and reduce your risk of stroke.
Once the valve is selected, you are prepared for mitral valve surgery.
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How is a Mitral Valve Replacement Performed?
The mitral valve replacement is performed under general anaesthesia through open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure. Open-heart surgery requires a large incision from your neck to your navel but the minimally invasive procedure requires a small incision.
Step 1 – You will be placed on a bypass machine that keeps blood circulating through your body and your lungs functioning during surgery.
Step 2 – Your surgeon will make an incision through which the current mitral heart valve will be removed and replaced with a new valve.
Step 3 – The surgery team will remove the bypass machine and the team will wire your breastbone back together.
Step 4 – The team will then sew or staple the incision in your skin back together.
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What happens after a Mitral Valve Replacement?
After your surgery, you will be shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) depending on your condition and surgery.
- Your treatment team will monitor your condition and watch for signs of infection in your incision sites.
- Your team will check your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate.
- Your treatment team will instruct you to walk regularly to gradually increase your activity, to cough and do breathing exercises as you recover.
- Follow-up appointments are important and will help your doctor determine when you are ready to resume your everyday activities, such as working, driving and exercising.
Life after a Mitral Valve Replacement:
Full recovery can take a few weeks or up to several months, depending on your rate of healing and the type of surgery performed.
- An echocardiogram is recommended annually to assess valve function.
- Your doctor might instruct you on making healthy lifestyle changes including physical activity, a healthy diet, stress management and avoiding tobacco use to keep your heart working well.
- Your doctor might recommend that you participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program of education and exercise designed to help you recover after heart surgery and improve your overall and cardiovascular health.
What is the Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery Cost in India?
The MVR surgery cost in India is $6500. This excludes the price of the artificial valve, which can cost from $970 – $2100. If you plan on getting your surgery done in India then you can contact us and we will help you in planning your trip and treatment in India which includes finding the best hospitals and service apartments in India which are affordable and suits your needs.
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Frequently asked questions:
Why is Mitral Valve Replacement Performed?
Mitral valve replacement is performed when the valve becomes too tight (mitral valve stenosis) for blood to flow into the left ventricle, or too loose (mitral valve regurgitation) where blood leaks backwards into the lungs.
What are the Mitral Valve Replacement Procedures?
Mitral valve replacement procedures can be done through open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.
Open Mitral Valve Replacement: A large incision is required to access the heart and replace the degenerative mitral valve with an artificial valve. Recovery after the surgery may take up to several weeks, depending on the patient’s medical condition.
Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR): This is a minimally invasive procedure, which requires a small, cosmetic incision. This procedure is completed within an hour and it minimizes both the risks and the duration of hospital stay.
What is a Double Valve Replacement?
A double valve replacement is a replacement of both the mitral and the aortic valve or the entire left side of the heart. This type of surgery is not as common as the others and the mortality rate is slightly higher.
What are the Types of Biologic Heart Valves?
There are three types of biologic heart valves:
- An Allograft or homograft is made of tissue taken from a human donor’s heart.
- A porcine valve is made from pig tissue. This valve can be implanted with or without a stent.
- A bovine valve is made from cow tissue. It connects to your heart with silicone rubber.
What is the Success Rate of Mitral Valve Replacement?
The success rate for mitral valve replacement is 91%. However, these rates depend on age and overall health condition.