Overview of Heart Valve Repair/Replacement

Heart valve repair/replacement is a treatment for a diseased or damaged heart valve. In a healthy heart, valves open and close to ensure the proper one-way flow of blood through the heart. But if your heart valves have been damaged or diseased, they may fail to work correctly. This places extra strain on your heart muscle. Depending on your valve problem, your doctor will recommend one of these solutions:

Repair: In a repair, your surgeon will reshape the faulty valve to make it function better.

Replacement: If repairing your valve isn't possible, your surgeon may choose to replace it with a mechanical valve (a valve made of mechanical parts) or with a tissue valve (a valve from a human donor or an animal).

heart-valves-189x321
The hearts valves are shown here with arrows indicating the direction of blood flow.

Types of Valve Repair/Replacement

  • Aortic Valve Repair/Replacement – Surgical

    Many patients require open heart surgery to treat aortic stenosis. A cardiovascular surgeon removes the diseased valve and replaces it with either a mechanical or tissue valve.

  • Aortic Valve Repair/Replacement – Transcatheter

    Patients who are considered “inoperable” or very high risk for surgery may be eligible for a less invasive method of replacing the aortic valve called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

  • Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement

    Mitral valve repair or replacement involves heart surgery to repair the mitral valve for many patients, though less invasive options may also be considered.

  • Valvuloplasty

    Valvuloplasty is a catheterization procedure used to treat heart valve stenosis. It involves inflating a balloon-tipped catheter inside a narrowed valve to increases the valve's mobility. This can increase the blood volume pumped out with each heartbeat.

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