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Heart valve surgery
People with severe valvular heart disease suffer from the on a daily basis heavy load on their heart. In most cases, extensive heart valve surgery is required to safely recover from this disease. However, many patients are very afraid of this difficult operation because they fear complications or consequential damage.
If heart valve disease is left untreated, it often develops into onelife-threatening heart failure. Therefore, you should always opt for the operation and thus prevent your health from deteriorating. Below you will find out how this surgery works, when it is needed and what risks it really comes with.
What is a heart valve operation?
The human heart as a whole has four different heart valves. Two are right between the atria and ventricles. The other two valves are located behind the openings in the chambers that lead directly into the major arteries. This connects the heart with the pulmonary artery and the aorta. In principle, viruses and bacteria can attack all four heart valves and cause serious illness. The stresses that arise often lead to a drastic drop in performance and reduce the general quality of life.
This operation restores the functionality of a damaged heart valve (e.g. in the case of mitral valve regurgitation). In the case of minor damage, the doctors conduct a so-called Heart valve construction by. This procedure helps a diseased valve to heal. However, if it cannot regenerate itself, surgeons will swap it for one as part of the operation synthetic flap made of metal or plastic out. As an alternative, many medical professionals often also use it biological elements from human or animal hearts.
How is the operation going?
At the beginning of the procedure, an experienced anesthetist puts the patient in general anesthetic. In this way, he ensures that the operation will go smoothly and smoothly. The surgeon in charge then opens the chest with a precise cut along the sternum. The resulting opening gives him direct access to the heart. A few years ago, doctors made a very long incision to completely expose the organ. Today, however, they reduce the area of engagement five to six inchesto leave the smallest possible scar.
As part of the operation, the surgeon connects your heart to a heart-lung machine. This machine allows the doctor to bring the heart to a standstill without endangering vital body functions. It maintains the entire blood circulation so that the surgeon can safely treat the defective heart valve. If he has to remove the valve completely, he then uses a mechanical or biological replacement.
Finally, it connects your heart to your body so that it can beat independently again. In total, the entire operation lasts between two and three hours. As a rule, the attending physician will check the functionality of the new heart valve with an ultrasound scan immediately after the procedure.
What are the risks of the operation?
Kick in a heart valve operation Complications only in very rare cases on. Both heart valve reconstruction and heart valve replacement have been used successfully to treat numerous diseases for over half a century. In addition, it is imperative to avoid serious complications and to maintain your quality of life. However, as with all surgical procedures, there is one some residual risk.
In some cases it happens in the course of a heart valve operation Arrhythmia. The most common is what is known as atrial fibrillation. This dysfunction is usually harmless and effectively treated with medication. In addition, there are sometimes severe internal ones Bleeding, infection, or kidney failure. On the other hand, they occur much more frequently psychological complications on. As a rule, however, the patient's psyche recovers within a few weeks.
In addition, heart valve surgery sometimes leads to more severe cardiac arrhythmias. For this reason, the permanent use of a pacemaker is sometimes necessary. In rare cases, one occurs during surgery Bleeding disorder in the brain of the patient. This is often associated with a stroke. Therefore, intensive monitoring of those affected is necessary after the operation. However, the advantages of the procedure are so great that it should be performed in any case.
Rehabilitation after heart valve surgery
The operation on the heart is always followed by stays in intensive care and normal wards as well as extensive rehabilitation. The care on the Intensive care unit usually only takes a few days. Most patients will then be treated for approx. two weeks on the Normal station supervised.
After the doctors discharge you from the hospital, one will follow three to four week rehabilitation phase. This is necessary because your body has to recover from the serious procedure over a longer period of time. Just opening the sternum takes several months to heal completely. When a patient can go back to their usual everyday activities depends on many individual factors.
The time to complete recovery depends primarily on the previous illnesses and general health. With the operation, the attending physicians at least ensured optimal conditions for the fastest possible recovery. In addition, they give in the period after the procedure supportive drugs. In addition to endocarditis prophylaxis against potential meningitis, these include above all anticoagulants. When taking them, however, always pay attention to possible interactions with food and other drugs.
Last changed on: 05/18/2020
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