When heart valves are damaged or disease to a point where a surgical repair won’t significantly improve symptoms, a valve replacement becomes necessary. Valve replacement surgery will permanently insert a new valve into to the heart after removing the damaged or diseased valve.
This procedure is typically done as an open-heart operation where the surgery takes place through an opening in the chest. The duration of the operation will depend upon the extent of the replacement. In most cases, a heart-lung machine is used to sustain breathing and circulation during the replacement.
As an open-heart procedure, heart valve replacement is a significant operation which requires a hospital stay. In the cardiac care unit, you will be under constant monitoring to assess your vitals and help ensure a speedy recovery.
After returning home from the hospital, you will receive a set of guidelines which allow you to gradually return your normal routine. Following heart valve replacement surgery, it’s important to protect your heart by leading a healthy lifestyle.