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Aortic Valve Replacement

The aortic valve

The heart consists of four chambers, there are two small chambers at the top of the heart called the atria and two larger chambers at the bottom known as the ventricles.

Each of the ventricles has two valves:

  • One of the valves controls the blood which flows into the ventricle
  • Another valve controls the blood which flows out of the ventricle
  • Each of these valves are made of flaps, which are called leaflets or cusps, these flaps can open and close, acting as one-way gates for the blood to flow through. The aortic valve helps to control the blood flow out of the left ventricle,of the heart which supply blood to the main artery of the heart knows as the aorta, and the aorta is responsible to supply blood to the rest of the body. Then it closes to prevent blood from leaking back to the heart.

To replace the Aortic valve ? Why is it necessary ?

There could two reasons why the aortic valve needs to be replaced:

If the valves becomes narrow and the restricts the flow of blood flowing through it known as (aortic stenosis)

If the valve is leaking(aortic regurgitation), and due to the leak the blood flows back into the left ventricle.

If the valve is not working properly then the other alternative is surgery.

How is aortic valve replacement carried out?

During this procedure, a cut is made in the chest to reach the heart, the heart is then stopped and an lung bypass machine is used to take of the circulation of the blood during the operation, till the valve is repaired. The aortic valve is then removed and replaced with an artificial valve(prosthesis),the incision in the chest is closed and the heart is started again.

Risks

There are certain risks with regards, to a valve replacement, some of which can be life threatening,it known that one in 50 people who undergoes this kind of surgery die of complications during the surgery or shortly after that,however if these problems associated with the aortic valve , that is stenosis/regurgitation are not treated then the result is death. However each case is carefully dealt with and the advantages, and pros and cons of aortic valve replacement will depend on the risks of this surgery.

Alternatives to aortic valve replacement

There are certain alternatives, but it depends from case to case , and also depending on the health condition of the patient, and this aortic valve replacement is consider in these conditions, also known as open-heart surgery.

Alternatives to aortic valve replacement include:

Trans catheter aortic valve implantation- the valve is replaced by going through the blood vessels rather than through a large incision in the chest.

Aortic valve balloon valuvoplasty- The valve is widened by using a balloon