Heart valve replacement surgery is the definitive treatment for heart valve diseases and injuries, and it has saved many heart patients in Turkey thanks to the efforts of elite doctors.
An overview of heart valves
The heart valves are small but very important, they control the flow of blood to and from the heart, and if these valves do not work efficiently, it will be difficult for the heart to work well and this will affect the health of the body in general.
Sometimes heart valve diseases are congenital, sometimes due to infection, and sometimes there is no clear cause for the problem, and because heart valve problems are more common with age, doctors believe that age has a role in their occurrence.
The treatment of valvular heart diseases has changed significantly during the last ten years, and multidisciplinary procedures in diagnosis and treatment aim to provide the optimal treatment for each patient, and this includes treatment withcatheter AndLaparoscopic heart surgery In addition to open heart surgeries Traditional heart valve repair or replacement.
How heart valves work
The heart is the pump that maintains blood flow throughout the body constantly, and during the passage of blood through the valve, the valve leaflets act as small gates that open to allow blood to pass into the heart chambers and close to prevent blood from crossing in the opposite direction.
There are four valves in the heart, and any defect in the function of one of these valves may be fatal because it inhibits blood flow and leads to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
Symptoms and signs of valvular heart disease
The first sign of any valvular problem is a heart murmur or Arrhythmia A heart murmur does not necessarily indicate a valvular problem.
Symptoms of heart valve problems include fatigue, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, sudden weight gain, swollen neck veins, and edema in the ankles or other areas of the body.
Medications and lifestyle changes can help avoid surgery to treat a valvular problem, but most people will need it depending on age, general health, and symptoms that may become severe.
Heart valve replacement surgery in Turkey
In most cases, valve replacement surgery requires a procedure open heart surgeryThis means that the surgeon opens the chest and then opens the heart to remove the damaged valve. Sometimes the valve can be changed by making a small incision near the sternum or under the right pectoral muscle, and this is called minimally invasive heart surgery.
has indicated Studies Due to the high success rate of the heart valve replacement surgery, the five-year survival rate after the operation was 94% for the aortic valve and 64% for the mitral valve. The following table shows the survival rate after the heart valve replacement surgery of various types:
|Heart valve replacement surgery||Five-year survival rate||Ten-year survival rate|
|Aortic valve replacement surgery||94%||84%|
|Mitral valve replacement surgery||64%||37%|
|Pulmonary valve replacement surgery||96%||93%|
|Tricuspid valve replacement surgery||79%||49%|
Reasons for a heart valve replacement surgery
Heart valve replacement surgery must be performed when one of the valves becomes sick or damaged that prevents it from opening properly (valve stenosis) or closing properly (valvular insufficiency) and because this prevents the heart from pumping blood.
Heart valve replacement surgery aims to replace a damaged heart valve with a replacement valve that performs the main function of the valve in opening and closing and relieving the burden on the heart muscle.
Replacement valve mechanism
Replacement valves act as gates that allow blood to cross in one direction, opening at the right time and closing at the right time, allowing the heart to pump effectively without the blood returning in the opposite direction.
Replacement valve types and choosing the optimum type
There are two main types of valve replacements, prosthetic and biological, and the choice of one of these valves is influenced by several factors such as age, comorbidities, and the patient's desire.
Vital heart valves: These valves are obtained from a human corpse or from animals, and they do not require taking blood thinners if there is no other indication for taking them in the patient, so they are most suitable for elderly patients, pregnant women, athletes, and people who have vital valves have a lower risk of blood clots, but these valves Valves are less durable and need to be changed every 12 to 15 years.
Artificial heart valves: These valves are made of carbon and metal, and because they are considered the most durable, they are used in younger patients (less than 65 years), but people who have prosthetic valves must take blood-diluting drugs such as warfarin for life because they have a high risk of blood clots, so the Vital valves are not suitable for pregnant women nor for athletes who are prone to injury and bleeding.
Risks of a heart valve replacement surgery
As in any surgery, there are risks from anesthesia and risks from the operation itself, and the degree of risk depends on the age and health problems of the patient.
Complications of heart valve replacement surgery include:
- Formation of blood clots
- cerebral strokes
- Kidney failure for several days
death rate in Aortic valve replacement surgery It ranges between 1 and 2 percent, which is much less than the risk of leaving it untreated Mitral valve replacement surgery The mortality rate ranges between 2 and 6 percent, and most people who have had this operation successfully had a life expectancy close to normal.
How to perform heart valve replacement surgery in Turkey
The traditional procedure involves opening the chest and cutting the sternum to reach the valve area. The heart must be stopped during valve replacement, so the patient is placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine to maintain blood circulation in the body during the operation, which is a very complicated process.
These days can Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) heart surgery In order to change the heart valve, or even Valve Implantation by Catheter TAVI in the right patients.
The procedure varies from patient to patient and takes at least two hours, and the patient is placed under general anesthesia during the procedure.
The doctor removes any calcified tissue or residue that interferes with the normal functioning of the valve and may remove the entire damaged valve, then stitches the new valve in place of the old valve.
After the doctor is sure that the new valve is working, he will restore blood flow to the heart, separate the patient from the cardiopulmonary bypass machine, and close the incision.
It should be noted that all replacement valves are biocompatible, meaning that the new valve will not be rejected by the patient's immune system.
After the operation, the patient will be transferred to the intensive care unit for some time, where his vital signs will be closely monitored and to ensure that no complications occur. The patient may feel a little uncomfortable due to the large number of monitoring devices connected to it.
When intensive care is no longer necessary, the patient is transferred to a regular hospital room for 3 to 10 days, depending on the speed of the patient's recovery.
Life after a heart valve change
After the heart valve bypass surgery, the patient will be helped to be able to walk again. Many patients go home within about a week.
On average, it takes two to three months for a patient to fully recover, but this varies widely depending on the patient's condition and the type of surgery he has performed.
The traditional surgery may require a longer recovery time, while the transcatheter heart valve replacement procedure does not take long to heal.
The patient's overall quality of life should improve after the operation because the valvular problem is gone and heart function returns to normal. Doctors will show the patient how to start exercising gradually.
It is essential that the patient undergo cardiac rehabilitation where they are helped to exercise safely, psychological support and advice on medications and what foods to eat to help recover quickly.
Why should I choose treatment in Turkey?
Frequently asked questions about heart valve replacement
Is the operation to change the heart valve dangerous?
The degree of risk depends on the age and health problems of the patient, and the mortality rate in heart valve replacement surgeries ranges between 1 and 2 percent for the aortic valve and between 2 and 6 percent for the mitral valve, which is much less than the risk of leaving it untreated.
What is the success rate of the heart valve change operation?
The five-year postoperative survival rate is 94% for the aortic valve and 64% for the mitral valve.
How long does heart valve replacement surgery take in Turkey?
The duration of the surgery varies from patient to patient according to the procedure followed (open surgery - laparoscopic surgery - catheter treatment) and it takes at least two hours.
Will the patient feel better after the operation to change the valves of the heart?
The patient may start to feel a slight improvement immediately after the operation. The improvement will be gradual and will increase over time. However, the patient must make some lifestyle modifications to get the most out of the new heart valve.