Q. What is a Heart Valve Replacement ?
A) A heart valve replacement is a surgical procedure that is undertaken for the replacement of a valve which is not functioning in a proper manner. The heart has 4 valves that have the function of directing the flow of blood in the same direction.
Q. Why is it done ?
A) The need of the procedure arises when a valve or a number of valves cannot be repaired due to the extent of severity of their damage that can be be due to a number of reasons ageing, abnormal formation in valves at the time of birth, bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, valve diseases (Stenosis and regurgitation).
All this can lead to a number of problems in the patient such as pain in the chest, increase in the shortness of breath, increase on fatigue, fainting, swelling the leg and ankle as well as dizziness.
Q. Where is it done ?
A) The surgery of heart valve replacement is done in a specialty hospital that has trained surgeons, other helping staff, all the equipments and the required technology.
Q. How long is the procedure ?
A) It depends on the number of valves that are being replaced but in most of the cases, a heart valve replacement surgery takes around two to four hours or in some cases even more.
Q. Which one is better, a mechanical valve or a tissue valve ?
A) Both have advantages and disadvantages. A mechanical valve lasts for a longer span in comparison to a tissue valve but the patient has to be on medication for thinning of the blood, for the rest of your life for reducing the risk of clot formation. But in the case of a tissue valve, it is not so.
The specialist can guide you better.
Q. For how much time does a heart valve lasts ?
A) In some patient, a mechanical valve might last long as 25 years without any problem but in some cases, it has to be replaced within a few years or months, due to any kind of a reason but they are more resistant.
Tissue valve does not last for such long but they can tear and leak after some time and need replacement in around 10 to 15 years. But this wearing out takes place slowly, so further planning can be done on time.
Q. Is an x-ray after heart valve replacement safe ?
A) Yes, an X-ray after any kind of valve replacement is absolutely safe.
Q. Does a new valve require special care ?
A) Yes, a new valve needs special amount of care. Your doctor can guide you better for the kind of safety measures, you need to take to be safe from any kind of valve infection.
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