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Aortic valve replacement surgery replaces or repairs a diseased or damaged valve. The goal is to help your heart circulate blood more effectively.
Call Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals at (702) 616-4900 or find a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon with our online tool.
The aortic valve lets oxygenated blood flow out of the heart, into the aorta, and then to the rest of the body. Aortic valve regurgitation and narrowing of the aortic valve (stenosis) can deprive your body of oxygen. Regurgitation allows blood to leak backward from the aorta into the heart because the valve doesn’t close completely. Stenosis prevents blood from flowing out of the heart at its normal rate.
To determine if you need aortic valve replacement, your doctor will look at:
Most people who have this procedure will need surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). This is a type of open heart surgery. Some patients may be candidates for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive option. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best method, based on your needs and health.
In traditional aortic valve replacement surgery, the doctor makes an incision in the sternum (breastbone) to open the chest cavity. This allows full surgical access to the heart. The heart is temporarily stopped during the procedure. Blood flow is routed through a heart bypass machine. The doctor removes the defective valve and replaces it with a mechanical or biological (animal or human) valve.
Aortic valve replacement surgery requires general anesthesia. Potential complications include:
Aortic valve replacement is performed as an inpatient procedure at a Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospital. You will spend about a week in the hospital afterward.
Before you leave the hospital, you will get detailed instructions on activity restrictions and diet. Your doctor may recommend prescription pain medication. To prevent complications, follow instructions carefully. Report any unusual symptoms right away.
Because the new valve greatly improves blood flow to the body, many people feel better soon after surgery.