Valve replacement surgery is the replacement of one or more of the heart valves with either an artificial heart valve or a bioprosthesis (homograft from human tissue or xenograft e.g. from pig). It is an alternative to valve repair.
There are four procedures:
- Aortic valve replacement
- Mitral valve replacement
- Tricuspid valve replacement
- Pulmonary valve replacement
Aortic valve replacement is a cardiac surgery procedure in which a patient’s failing aortic valve is replaced with an alternate healthy valve. The aortic valve can be affected by a range of diseases; the valve can either become leaky (aortic insufficiency / regurgitation) or partially blocked (aortic stenosis). Aortic valve replacement is open heart surgery. A new catheter-based approach (percutaneous aortic valve replacement or PAVR), which obviates the need for open heart surgery, is being used in some places of the world and is being tested in clinical trials in the United States and Europe.
Mitral valve replacement is a cardiac surgery procedure in which a patient’s mitral valve is replaced by a different valve. Mitral valve replacement is typically performed robotically or manually, when the valve becomes too tight (mitral valve stenosis) for blood to flow into the left ventricle, or too loose (mitral valve regurgitation) in which case blood can leak into the left atrium and back up into the lung.
A mitral valve replacement/repair is performed to treat severe cases of mitral valve prolapse, heart valve stenosis, or other valvular diseases. Since a mitral valve replacement is an open heart surgical procedure, it requires placing the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass to stop blood flow through the heart when it is opened up.