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Heart valve surgery addresses the problem of incorrect functioning of heart valves. In heart valve disease, either the valve may not open completely, or it may not shut tight. In either circumstance, blood doesn’t move through the heart’s chambers the way it should, thus putting more pressure on the heart.
Heart valve surgery abroad is gaining popularity with medical tourists as the expertise of cardiac surgeons in India is proved every day. Also, heart valve surgery is pretty cheap abroad when compared to the costs in the US.
In heart valve surgery, one or more valves are repaired or replaced, depending on the condition of the valve. The decision to either repair or replace the valve can be taken only during surgery and not before. Your surgeon will discuss with you the options and any other procedures you may need.
A ring may be sewn around the opening of the valve to tighten it. Other parts of the valve may be cut, shortened, separated, or made stronger to help the valve open and close right.
If a valve cannot be repaired, it may be replaced with a prosthetic valve. Two kinds of prosthetic heart valves are available: mechanical and biological.
A mechanical valve is created from artificial materials. Though it lasts long, the biggest disadvantage is that you will have to be on a lifetime therapy of anticoagulants or blood thinners as blood tends to clot on or around the mechanical valve.
Biological (tissue) valves are taken from pig, cow, or human donors. These valves don’t last as long as mechanical valves, but they usually do not necessitate the long-term use of an anticoagulant.
Choosing the valve type is a decision on which your doctor will advise you. The decision is influenced by factors like your age, the kind of work you do, the size of your valve, the condition of your heart, your ability to take an anticoagulant, and how many valves you may need.
Heart valve surgery can also be done through the minimally invasive method. However, total evaluation condition of the patient is required before determining if he / she candidate for this method. Minimally invasive heart valve surgery has significant advantages over the traditional method like faster recovery, lesser pain, and less visible scarring.
The fact that they may need a major heart surgery can be upsetting. But try not to panic, it could only worsen matters. A list of things to do before heart valve surgery and what is to expect from it:
Aftercare is crucial to the success of heart valve surgery. It also helps to know what to expect after the procedure:
Some patients may respond to medications for the conditions associated with heart valve disease. The other alternative to heart valve surgery is a procedure called balloon valvotomy: it increases the opening of a narrowed valve. Your doctor will help you decide if this procedure is right for you.
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