Your doctor may recommend a heart valve repair procedure if one of your heart valves doesn’t close properly or has become stiff and narrow. The goal of treatment is to salvage a damaged valve whenever possible. However, if this isn’t possible, the valve may be replaced with a mechanical device.
Do you need heart valve surgery? At Dignity Health Central California, we offer personal care for cardiovascular conditions, including expert treatment options. To learn more about heart valve repair in Central California, talk to your Dignity Health doctor, or use our Find a Doctor tool to locate one close to you.
Reasons for Heart Valve Repair
You may be a candidate for heart valve repair if the damage to your heart valve can be surgically repaired. Common conditions that could benefit from heart valve repair include:
- Narrowing of a heart valve caused by the buildup of fatty plaque or other materials
- Stiff or misshapen valves that can’t close properly or otherwise function correctly
- Heart valve regurgitation, or the leaking of blood back into the heart chamber because a valve can’t close as tightly as it should
Heart Valve Repair Procedures at Dignity Health Central California
There are several surgical options for heart valve repair. They fall into two categories: minimally invasive procedures and traditional, open heart surgery.
Minimally invasive heart valve repair procedures include:
- Balloon valvuloplasty — a tiny balloon is guided to your heart with a cardiac catheterization procedure, and then inflated to “stretch” your narrowed heart valve.
- Robotic valve surgery — the heart valve is repaired with the assistance of a robotic device inserted into the chest cavity through several small incisions.
Examples of open heart valve repair include:
- Ring annuloplasty — a round piece of plastic or sturdy cloth is sutured around a leaky valve to provide support.
- Valve repair — a procedure to trim and reshape the tissue flaps that form the “doors” of your heart valve.
What to Expect from Recovery
Successful heart valve repair surgery can significantly improve your quality of life. However, even minimally invasive heart valve repair is considered major surgery, and requires several days of observation and recovery in the hospital.
It is normal to experience some chest pain in the days and weeks after your procedure. Full recovery typically takes four to six weeks. The speed of your recovery is influenced by your overall health.
When you are ready to return home, your Dignity Health Central California heart care team will provide you with specific instructions for continued care and a list of restricted activities while your heart valve heals. Be sure to eat a heart-healthy diet, and gradually increase your level of physical activity per your doctor’s recommendations.
Want to know your risk for developing heart problems? Take Dignity Health’s free heart health assessment today.
Dignity Health Central California offers expert heart valve repair in Bakersfield and Stockton, CA.