Aortic Valve Repair- Cardiology

Doctors: Cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeon

What is aortic valve?

The aortic valve is the exit point for blood getting pumped to the rest of the body. This valve regulates the single-directional blood flow out of the heart. If the aortic valve does not open or close appropriately, heart has to work hard to pump blood to the body.

Aortic valve repair basically implicates repairing or modifying the constituents of the aortic valve without actually replacing it. Aortic valve repair is specifically useful in cases of aortic regurgitation (generally occurs due to expanded valve), where the key goal of this procedure is to reduce the enlarged vessel to diminish blood leakage back into the heart.

The procedure:

Patient is given general anesthesia for this surgery. Aortic valve repair is typically performed through traditional open-heart surgery in which chest is opened to access the heart (sternotomy). During this procedure, a cardiopulmonary bypass machine (also known as a heart-lung bypass machine) is also used. This machine acts as the heart and lungs for the patient’s body during the surgery when the heart is stopped.  

Depending on the cause of aortic regurgitation, the specific technique to repair the aortic valve is implemented. The surgeon might accomplish valve-sparing surgery to diminish the diameter across the valve, or take out the entire valve and reimplant it inside an artificial graft with a smaller diameter. Another way involves surgical modification of the geometry of the valves. If aortic regurgitation is caused due to a tear in the valve, a patch of the tissue from around the heart might be also used to repair the valve defect. If the valve is narrowed due to any congenital defect, it might be repaired by opening up the valves and readjusting them correctly.

What to expect after the procedure?

Right after the surgery, the patient will be in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a day or two depending on the condition. Patient would be later on shifted to regular room for several days in the hospital. Patient would be observed for any signs of infections or complications. Patient may return to the daily routine as per the doctor’s advice.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.