Mitral Valve Replacement
DefinitionThe mitral valve is on the left side of the heart. It allows blood to flow from the left upper chamber into the left lower chamber. When the valve is not working well, it may need to be replaced.
Reasons for ProcedureHealthy heart valves allow blood to flow one way. Diseased valves either leak and cause backflow, or narrow and restrict blood flow. The condition can be life threatening. Sometimes the valve can be repaired. Other times, it must be replaced.Rheumatic fever , other infections, defects at birth, and wear and tear are the most common causes of mitral valve problems.
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Damage to the heart or other organs
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor will evaluate both your general health and the condition of your heart and circulation. Some tests may include an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram , or cardiac catheterization . Talk to your doctor about medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedureDo not eat or drink anything the night before your procedure.
AnesthesiaGeneral anesthesia is given before surgery. You will be asleep.
Description of the ProcedureAn incision will be made along the length of your breast bone. The breast bone will be split lengthwise to expose your heart. You will then be put on a heart-lung machine. This machine takes over the work of your heart so that the doctor can stop your heart.Your heart will be opened. A substitute valve will be sewn into place. This valve may be mechanical (metal and plastic), such as a St. Jude valve, or it may be made of tissue. Tissue valves most often come from a pig or a cow. Tissue valves may also be supplied by a human donor or even manufactured from your own tissues. When the valve is in place, you will be taken off the heart-lung machine and your heart will be re-started. The incision will be closed.
|Mitral Valve Replacement|
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Immediately After ProcedureYou will be taken to a recovery room. Your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored.
How Long Will It Take?About 2-5 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital StayThe usual length of stay is 8-10 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
Postoperative CareAt the HospitalYou will probably spend 1-3 days in the intensive care unit (ICU) and several more days in a regular hospital room. During this time, your care team will:
- Observe you for any complications
- Stabilize your heart function
- Instruct you in home care and activities
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
- Take prescription medications, such as blood thinners or antibiotics.
- Antibiotics may be needed before dental procedures and during certain other procedures. This will help prevent a valve infection.
- You will slowly return to your usual activities over a 4-12 week period. You may also be asked to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program.