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The aortic valve is located between the pumping chamber on the left side of the heart and the aorta, which is a major artery. The aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The valve should be closed while the heart is filling with blood. When the heart chamber squeezes to push blood into the aorta, the valve should open fully to allow blood flow.
Aortic valve replacement is done to replace an aortic valve that doesn't open (stenosis) or close (regurgitation) properly. The replacement valve may be:
Aortic valve replacement is done when the aortic valve is not working properly. The amount of oxygen-rich blood getting out to the body can be significantly decreased with a faulty valve. Sometimes, the aortic valve is misshapen due to a birth defect. Other times, the aortic valve works well for years before becoming too stiff or too floppy to open and close fully. Sometimes this happens due to normal aging.
If you are planning to have a valve replacement, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications with heart surgery include:
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medication. You may need to stop taking certain medication for one week before surgery, such as:
Your doctor may also ask you to:
General anesthesia will be given. You will be asleep during the procedure.
An incision will be made down the middle of your chest and the breastbone will be separated. A heart-lung machine will be attached, which allows the doctor to stop your heart to safely work on the heart valve.
You will be monitored in the intensive care unit, where you will have the following interventions:
How Long Will It Take?
The surgery can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. You may be given medication for any pain during recovery. Pain levels vary from patient to patient.
Average Hospital Stay
The average stay is 3 to 6 days.
At the Hospital
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Every patient’s recovery can be different. You will need to shower, daily, with a mild soap. Ask your doctor when it is safe to take a bath or soak in water. You may find that there will be some areas of discomfort in the area of surgery that can last for several weeks. Also, it is common that you may feel tired for many weeks following this type of surgery.
You will be asked not to do any type of heavy lifting for two months that will cause pain at the surgical site. People with jobs requiring strong physical activity may require additional time before resuming those types of activities. Be sure to ask your doctor when you can drive and return to work.
When to Call Your Surgeon
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us. We’ll return your call the same day and can secure you an appointment with one of our doctors within the week.
Request an appointment online or call 617-789-2045.
Or call 617-789-2045
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