Get answers to your Aortic Valve Surgery questions.
Balloon valvuloplasty; Mini-thoracotomy aortic valve replacement or repair; Cardiac valvular surgery; Mini-sternotomy; Robotically-assisted endoscopic aortic valve replacement
After your operation, you will spend 3 to 7 days in the hospital. You will spend the first night in an intensive care unit (ICU). Nurses will monitor your condition constantly.
Usually within 24 hours, you will be moved to a regular room or a transitional care unit in the hospital. You will slowly resume some activity. You may begin a program to make your heart and body stronger.
You may have two to three tubes in your chest to drain fluid from around your heart. These are usually removed 1 to 3 days after surgery.
You may have a catheter (flexible tube) in your bladder to drain urine. You may also have intravenous (IV, in the vein) lines for fluids. Nurses will closely watch monitors that display information about your vital signs (pulse, temperature, and breathing). You will have daily blood tests and EKGs to test your heart function until you are well enough to go home.
A temporary pacemaker may be placed in your heart if your heart rhythm becomes too slow after surgery.
Once you are home, recovery takes time. Take it easy, and be patient with yourself.
Mechanical heart valves do not fail often. However, blood clots can develop on them. If a blood clot forms, you may have a stroke. Bleeding can occur, but this is rare.
Biological valves tend to fail over time. But they have a lower risk of blood clots.
Techniques for minimally invasive heart valve surgery have improved greatly over the past 10 years. These techniques are safe for most people, and they reduce recovery time and pain. For best results, have aortic valve surgery at a center that does many of these procedures.
Fullerton DA, Harken AH. Acquired heart disease: valvular. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 62.
Popma JJ, Baim DS, Resnic FS. Percutaneous coronary and valvular interfention. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 55.
Otto CM, Bonow RO. Valvular heart disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 62.
Coeytaux RR, Williams JW Jr., Gray RN, Wang A. Percutaneous heart valve replacement for aortic stenosis: state of the evidence. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:314-324.
Schmitto JD, Mokashi SA, Cohn LH. Minimally-invasive valve surgery. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;56:455-462.
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