Aortic Valve Surgery

Aortic Valve Surgery is done to treat a damaged or diseased aortic valve, which is one of four valves that control blood flow in the heart. The aortic valve is situated between the left ventricle and the aorta. Aortic Valve Surgery can improve blood flow, reduce symptoms of heart valve disease and prolong life.

Types of aortic valve disease

Aortic valve disease occurs when the aortic valve does not work properly. This can be caused by:

  • Aortic valve regurgitation- Regurgitation causes blood to flow backward through the aortic valve into the left ventricle. It is also called valvular insufficiency, or “leaky valve”. Regurgitation may be caused by any condition that damages the aortic valve.
  • Aortic valve stenosis-In this the aortic valve is narrowed or blocked which limits the blood flow. It can occur in patients with either a tricuspid or a bicuspid aortic valve.
  • Congenital heart defects-Some babies may be born with an aortic valve without a valve opening or a valve with the wrong size or shape.

Symptoms of aortic valve disease

In many cases patients with aortic valve disease are asymptomatic while others may display symptoms like fatigue, loss of energy, swelling of ankles, palpitations, etc. Other symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness or loss of consciousness.

Diagnosis of aortic valve disease

The physician reviews patient symptoms, performs a physical exam and listens for a murmur, and evaluates the test results to diagnose aortic valve disease. The diagnosis of aortic valve disease is confirmed by an echocardiogram, which is a specialized heart ultrasound and allows the doctor to visualize the heart valves and determine the severity of the aortic valve disease.

Aortic valve surgery

Aortic valve replacement is the treatment for aortic valve disease. Aortic valve replacement is usually done using open-heart surgery and by opening the chest bone. If the aortic valve can’t be repaired, surgery may be needed to replace the valve with a mechanical valve or a biological tissue valve.

The surgery can be performed using traditional heart valve surgery or minimally invasive approaches. Minimally invasive heart valve surgery usually involves smaller incisions and a smaller duration of hospital stay than traditional open-heart surgery.