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Living Better After Heart Valve Surgery in Northern California

The valves in your heart control blood flow, allowing delivery of oxygen-rich blood to your body. If any of your valves become damaged, the ability of your heart to circulate blood efficiently is affected. Heart valve surgery can restore functionality and relieve your symptoms.

The cardiology specialists at Dignity Health North State can answer your questions with respect and compassion. Find a Doctor today to learn about heart valve surgery in Northern California.


Reasons for Heart Valve Surgery at Dignity Health North State

You may be able to live with mild heart valve disease for years without needing treatment. However, because your heart is constantly working harder than normal, you may eventually develop serious complications, like heart failure.

Advanced stages of the disease can cause severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and passing out, and fluid retention. If this occurs, your Dignity Health North State doctor may recommend heart valve surgery, such as: 

  • Minimally invasive heart valve repair — a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is threaded to the heart through a large blood vessel to repair the damaged valve
  • Traditional open heart surgery — heart is accessed through a large incision in the chest, and the valve is replaced with a mechanical or biological device

The exact procedure your doctor recommends depends on a number of variables — what valve needs treatment, your overall health, and medical history.



Know What to Expect

Depending on whether you have a minimally invasive procedure or open heart surgery, you will be sedated (but awake) or put under general anesthesia. 

You may feel some pressure or mild discomfort in your chest as your heart valve is being repaired or replaced during a minimally invasive procedure.

In open heart surgery, your heart is stopped, allowing your surgeon to work on a still organ. A lung-heart machine continues to circulate your blood. 

After your procedure, you will spend time in a special cardiac care unit, where your heart rhythm and vital signs will be monitored by a specially trained nurse.



Ensuring a Successful Recovery

The typical recovery time from heart valve surgery is two to eight weeks. Open heart surgery recovery times tend to be longer compared with minimally invasive procedures. 

Your Dignity Health North State heart care team will provide detailed take-home instructions on how to care for your incision, the types and levels of activity you may undertake, what to eat, how to bathe, and more.

Be sure to report any unusual symptoms to your doctor during your recovery period.

Cardiac rehabilitation can assist you in your return back to normal life. To learn more, speak with a doctor at Dignity Health North State.

Dignity Health North State is here to help keep you healthy. Our doctors provide expert cardiac care, including heart valve surgery, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.