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Heart Valve Replacement

HEART VALVE REPLACEMENT Surgery Information And Interesting Fact

Heart Valve Replacement

Heart is one of the most important part in human body, as it is one organ that keep our body alive by pumping red blood cells in order to deliver oxygen to all of the organs in our body. Therefore, if something happen to our heart it means that the process on delivering oxygen to all of body part will have some problem to begin with. One of the disease that can happen to human heart is heart valve disease which is a disease that attack human heart especially its valve making it deteriorate and is unable to do its job with the best potential. In order to cure this before the victim fall to death then heart valve replacement surgery is important to be done.

Most people does not know about Heart valve replacement surgery. It is because even though it is quite common for people this day, it still have high risk and not many people willing to undergo such surgery. However, most people have different misconception regarding this surgery and think that this type of surgery have high chance of failure. In reality this type of surgery has high chance of success as our methodology and also technology in medical faculty has improved since then. Therefore this type of surgery has been done many times but with utmost caution.

heart valve replacement is conducted by placing replacement pipe
Heart valve replacement is conducted by placing replacement pipe

In this article of course we will try to discuss some of the most important part of this type of surgery which is what heart valve replacement surgery are. The discussion will be targeting on describing heart valve surgery in most details so every people will know about this type of surgery in more detailed manners and then giving valuable information to most common people who are not familiar with heart valve surgery and of course why there are Heart valve leakage on the first place.

Other than the main theme of heart valve surgery, we will also talk about heart valve diseases in general giving information regarding what kinds of causes and diseases that may lead to the heart valve diseases on the first place. With this in mind it will be much easier for us to understand why heart valve replacement surgery are needed on the first place as there are saying, to fight your enemies you need to know them more than they know you, and the same can also be said for all diseases which can be cured if first we know about them and learn about them in a much more detailed ways. Therefore, without further ado, here are some of the information that we can tell you regarding Heart valve disease surgery and what you should know about it in more details.

Knowing more about heart valve and its diseases

Before we are going to talk about heart valve replacement surgery on the first place, it is a good idea to know about what heart valve is and what causes the heart related diseases or Heart attack symptoms. First of all heart valve is a body structure inside our heart organ that allows fluid to flow in the body (this fluid of course contains blood which also contains oxygen that beneficial for our body organ in general). The main heart valve consists of aortic, pulmonary, tricuspid and mitral valves. Heart valves work to regulate the movement, so for example when the mitral and tricuspid valves open for blood flow to the heart, the aortic and pulmonary valves remain closed. This ensures unidirectional blood flow for correct blood circulation.

heart valve function
Heart valve function (via healthjade.com)

Moving on from heart valve itself, we also need to know what caused the heart valve diseases on the first place. Usually, it is because of the organs that are too old and cannot perform in its best potential however, there are several additional causes that can cause heart valve to perform in a worse way possible or deteriorating. For you who want to know about it then here are some of the examples and causes on what causes heart valve diseases on the first place.

1. What cause heart valve diseases?

Heart valves that don’t work can either be repaired or replaced just like Heart transplant. An example of a heart valve not functioning properly is when the valve is stenotic (narrowed) or incompetent (leaking), causing blood to flow back to the heart when it should come out of the heart. Non-repaired valves can cause heart disease and death. Other than that there are also multiple causes for this diseases ranges from:

A. Rheumatic fever

  • Those with rheumatic fever, with scarring, or hereditary heart disease, may get the disease. Most people does not know that rheumatic fever and hereditary heart diseases or even scarring on their body can also contribute in causing heart valve diseases in general which is the main reason that some people only discovering that they have heart valve disease on a late stages.
  • Additionally, Rheumatic fever may happen due to allergy- This is due to an allergic response to certain types of streptococcal bacteria. If this happens, this may often occur in children who have streptococcal infections that are not treated completely.
  • Chronic rheumatic heart disease can result from only one or several rheumatic fever.
  • One things that needs to be know is that Symptoms of rheumatic fever include fever, joint pain, and either a lump under the skin or redness of the skin. For a much more severe cases it will also deteriorate human heart valve and Heart rate zones. Additionally, if it is malfunctioned later then a heart valve replacement will need to be done to the patient.

B. Infective Endocarditis

  • Oral surgery or surgery involving the mouth, bladder, prostate, or female pelvic organs increases the risk of this infection. Disease may also occur in drug addicts who inject drugs through their veins using non-sterile needles, even if they have a normal heart valve. This is possible because the contagion of the drug that are involved on the surgery and also drugs is capable on elevating the chance of heart valve diseases, as heart valve are highly susceptible to foreign substances especially chemical and drugs.
  • Patients who have the Infective Endocarditis disease may feel fever, lethargy, night sweats, cold and joint inflammation.
  • For some patients where the illness develops slowly, the symptoms of this illness ranges from enlarged spleen, spots on the skin and also rashes, heart murmur and then unnatural heart rate or heartbeat. Finally on the final and severe cases it will lead to the deteriorating of heart valve and then we need to do heart valve replacement surgery.

    infective endocarditis
    Infective endocarditis makes plaque on some parts of heart (via hxbenefit.com)

C. Other

  • Of course there other causes of this type of heart related diseases which is much more natural and not caused by other diseases on the first place and it is due to the aging of human body which makes human heart valve to deteriorate naturally. Of course it is are treatable just as the other two causes that we already explained on the above paragraph.
  • Other heart valve diseases – With aging, usually human will have their body weaken and also have some of their calcium substances to cause thickening and leakage of the heart valves. This is why old people are much more susceptible to heart attack. One things to be noted is that heart attack will be able to damage valve structure especially the mitral structure. Not to mention some syndromes such as Marfan which will also affect heart valves condition.

2. Alternative for cure besides surgery

Treatment of specific heart valve diseases varies and different from your usual Heart disease and also Heart attack, including the valve involved and the extent of damage or malfunction. Some patients do not need specific treatment and many can be treated with drugs. Sometimes, patients need surgery. If multiple valve disease is suspected, different valves are evaluated during the operation of one of the affected valves. Women or females that unfortunately have heart disease or heart valve disease need to do some checkup thoroughly if they want to be pregnant or already pregnant as well.

In this point we will try to explain alternative ways of heart valve diseases other than heart replacement surgery. Please be noted that if the causes are already taking place too long it will be impossible to treat the heart related diseases without having to do heart replacement surgery. However, for people who are luckily be able to detect the diseases in their beginning phase then there are some alternative ways that they can do to treat this types of diseases. And for you who are interested in it, here are some of the types of cure you can done to infective endocarditis and rheumatic fever which is the main cause of heart valve related diseases.

Types of cure depend on the causes of the heart valve diseases

Just as we already explaining first on the previous point there are two main and general causes of heart valve related diseases and it is infective endocarditis and Rheumatic fever. These two causes can be cured and treated accordingly before they are begin to lead to heart valve related diseases. And we are going to describe several ways to cure it starting from the infective endocarditis and then rheumatic fever one by one to give you some insight on what you need to do

1. Infective Endocarditis

Just as we explain previously, infective endocarditis happen because of the infection thus the infective phrase are used on this causes. The way to cure this diseases on the first place is not that difficult however it is to detect it on the first place which is quite difficult as we need to be cautious and use any kinds of test to know what happen to our body. Depending on the type of bacterium that causes the disease, an appropriate antibiotic or combination of antibiotics is used to treat infective endocarditis. However if it is too strong and already take root then some severe cases are repaired by valve replacement surgery as we previously mentioned.

2. Rheumatic fever

Other than Infective endocarditis as Heart problem symptoms there are also Rheumatic fever as the main diseases and causes that leads to heart valve diseases. The cure that we can use for this rheumatic fever before it leads to heart valve related diseases is almost similar with infective endocarditis which means we use another antibiotics. Yes, patients with rheumatic fever are treated with antibiotics to eliminate streptococcal organisms that still live in the heart. The patient receives antibiotics to prevent further infection, and inflammation is treated with aspirin or cortisone-like drugs.

Valve repair (also known as valvuplasti) allows the surgeon to repair damaged valves, often without using artificial valves. The mitral valve is the most frequently repaired valve, but the aortic and tricuspid valves may also be repaired with the same technique. In the process of repairing a damaged valve, like an incompetent mitral, the surgeon constructs the valve so that the valve closes properly. Only broken valves are repaired. Of course, if the valve is badly damaged, heart valve replacement is needed. Replacements are made with artificial valves and can be made of metal, plastic, or biological material made from animal tissues which is compatible with human body on the first place.

Now we know about all of the things regarding heart valve diseases and also what can caused on the first place. It is now the time that we learn about heart valve replacement surgery in details. Thus, on the next point we will explain what heart valve replacement surgery and then moving to discuss and describe several factor related to it such as why we need the surgery on the first place and how the process of the surgery work which will be very exciting for us to learn.

What is Heart valve replacement Surgery?

Okay, if we are going to answer this then we need to explain first that there are four valves in your heart that function like doors to control blood flow between different parts of the heart. Valve problems can occur due to congenital abnormalities (birth) also one of the cause of heart valve problems, other than that there are also degeneration and infection. Usually the affected valves that are deteriorating can be replaced or repaired using Heart Valve surgery.

aortic valve regurgitation
The effect you get if you don’t take surgery

Heart valve repairs or surgery have the objective to make heart valve work as intended therefore the surgery will include repairing damaged valves to the maximum extent possible without the use of artificial materials. If all attempts fail to repair a malfunctioning valve, your surgeon will replace the valve during the same procedure.

One thing to be note for is that human heart valves can be replaced using artificial valves (made of plastic or metal), or bio prosthetic valves (made of biological material from animal tissues), or allograph valves (valves with human tissue). Of course, it needs to be compatible for the patients first as some people are much more compatible with other artificial valves when other are not.

Knowing about the heart replacement surgery also makes it quite interesting for people who are unfamiliar with it. And of course it leads to another question, why do we need this surgery and when do we need to undergo such surgery on the first place. Or do we can avoid this surgery? This question can be answered on the next points on this article as it is important for people to know about this surgery in a more insightful ways.

Why do you need a heart valve repair / replacement operation?

Heart Valve Repair / Replacement Surgery is used to treat patients suffering from Heart Valve Disease. First of all, the doctor or physician will evaluate your heart valve condition, and the decision regarding the need for heart valve surgery will be based on the symptoms and test results. Repair of the aortic valve (the valve between the aorta and the left cavity) is crucial if the valve is narrowed or leaked. Abnormal function of the aortic valve can cause heart failure due to insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle.

If a damaged valve is successfully repaired through heart valve surgery, you will benefit from a reduced risk of infection, reduce blood thinning needs, reduce the risk of stroke, maintain heart muscle strength, and most importantly, increase long-term survival opportunities. If a broken valve is not repaired, it may cause heart disease or even death.

Now we know that not every heart valve disease lead to heart valve replacement. Only some fatal threat can lead us to do heart valve replacement surgery on the first place. Which is why we does not need to be afraid that we need to do this surgery. As usually, only people who are really having a very severe cases on rheumatic fever, and also infective endocarditis who are usually need to be treated with heart valve replacement surgery.

Heart valve replacement surgery process

The process of this surgery is much like other surgery that are done to human body. it needs concentration and focus from the surgeon to do it properly. Additionally, only people with the right condition and who are ready to do it are able to do the heart replacement surgery. Some condition may hinder the recovery of the surgery and it means that some people are not able to undergo such surgery and may need to wait until their body are ready to do the surgery in order to increase the chance of success of the heart replacement surgery.

So, what is the process of the surgery? During heart valve surgery, a downward incision is performed until the middle part of the chest and breastbone are separated. The surgeon will assess whether this procedure, or less invasive keyhole surgery (which allows valve repair and replacement to be done through a small incision), is most suitable for you. This process are difficult and needs concentration to be done properly as one error can lead to fatality on the patient life.

Other alternative also include this phase where the doctor makes a small incision into the patient’s femoral artery, which is located in the groin near the heart. They then insert a Core Valve device with a catheter, to trace the arteries to the location of the narrowed aortic valve in the heart.

Additionally, with the advancement of technology especially on the medical knowledge, we can use artificial valve design which is very small and also flexible to be applied into human heart valve. This improvement are very useful for people with small vascular systems that in the past will be impossible to cure. The main reasons is that because artificial valve design that now are smaller and advanced makes it possible to treat patients with small vascular systems or blood vessels that are difficult to insert.

the installation of catheter
The installation of catheter inside heart (via extremetech.com)

After the catheter is placed, the catheter’s frame will spread in a controlled manner, allowing the doctor to place the valve accurately. Then the artificial valve expands and takes over the function of the original valve to ensure that oxygen-rich blood flows out of the heart. Then, circulate to all parts of the body which means that the body condition will improve as it is deteriorate previously because of the malfunctioning heart valve which makes the heart cannot pump oxygen to all part of human body giving it oxygen and nutrient.

After that the catheter will be removed, and a small incision in the groin near the heart will be closed. After the operation, the doctor will schedule the next meeting to check the function of the valve whether it is running or not. The patient that already undergoing the heart valve surgery then will needs to contact the doctor in regular manner for a year. It is important as the valve needs to be check in regular manner to know that it is working properly or not.

And there you go several information regarding heart valve replacement surgery. This kinds of surgery is definitely one of the most difficult and also highly risk surgery because it will need to be done on human heart. However, in this modern day due to the highly advanced technology and of course the improvement of human civilization this surgery is no longer have too much risk and can be performed with high percentage of success. Of course, it will be better if we are not doing the surgery on the first place. Therefore, it is important for all of us to take care our heart cautiously by doing Heart healthy habits to avoid any kinds of heart related diseases.