Heart Valve Replacement

In cases of a diseased or damaged valve, surgery may be required. Although it is sometimes possible to repair the valve, usually it is necessary to replace it. A replacement valve that is no longer working properly also must be replaced with a new valve.

Replacement valves can be made from human or animal tissue (biologic replacement valves) or from metal and plastic (mechanical replacement valves). Although mechanical valves last longer (20 years or more) than biological valves, they also can promote blood clot formation. This means that a person with a mechanical heart valve needs to take long-term therapy with blood-thinning medication to prevent blood clots from forming.

In valve replacement surgery, the person is given general anesthesia. The surgeon opens the chest cavity and exposes the heart (open heart surgery). The heart is temporarily stopped, and a heart-lung machine is used to pump blood throughout the body. The diseased or damaged valve is removed, and the replacement valve is put in position and attached with stitches. The surgeon then restarts the heart and disconnects the heart-lung machine. The chest cavity is closed and stitched together.

To prevent a heart valve infection, a person with a replacement valve must take antibiotics before all dental and surgical procedures.

Source [ http://www.healthtweak.com ]
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