Overview of Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement
Aortic valve replacement is a treatment for aortic valve stenosis. Many patients require heart surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve, though less invasive options may be suitable for certain patients (see aortic valve repair/replacement – transcatheter).
During valve replacement surgery, the damaged valve is removed by a cardiothoracic surgeon. A prosthetic valve is inserted and secured in place with small stitches. Valve replacement is best performed before the heart becomes permanently damaged from the strain of the diseased valve. Less invasive surgeries with smaller incisions such as minithoracotomy for aortic or mitral valve replacement are suitable for certain patients. Cardiothoracic surgeons at Intermountain Medical Center are the leaders in research for improved prosthetic valves as well as investigative trials for less invasive valve replacement.
Mechanical Valves: Mechanical valves – typically made of plastic, metal, or cloth — are usually quite durable. However, they require the life-long use of anticoagulants (blood thinners) to prevent blood
Tissue Valves: Tissue valves come from human donors or from animals (usually pigs), and don't usually require the lifelong use of anticoagulant medication. For this reason, tissue valves are often a good option for women who want to have children, and for athletes in sports with a high risk of injury. However, tissue valves don't tend to last as long as mechanical valves, and may need to be replaced in your lifetime.
Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement in Depth
Learn more about Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:
Where is This Surgery Performed?
Surgical aortic valve replacement is performed in the cardiovascular operating room (also called the CV OR) by a cardiothoracic surgeon and the cardiovascular OR team. Patients recover in the thoracic intensive care unit (thoracic ICU).
If you have questions please call us: 801-507-4701.
Learn More About Our Cardiothoracic Surgery Program
Aortic Valve Replacement Research
Intermountain Heart Institute currently has one or more clinical trials that are enrolling patients who need aortic valve replacement. Learn more about the Heart Institute’s clinical trials for aortic valve replacement.