Coronary Valve Replacement
What is coronary valve replacement surgery?
Coronary valve replacement surgery is an ‘open’ heart surgery procedure to replace heart
valves that have become susceptible to heart valve disease, or are abnormal in some way.
Valves are replaced with either biological (animal or human tissue) or man-made valves.
Who can benefit from coronary valve replacement surgery?
Individuals who have heart valve disease or endocarditis can hugely benefit from coronary
valve replacement as the surgery can improve symptoms or completely eradicate damage
resulting in greater quality of life. Birth defects that have not been immediately addressed
may get worse and aging can weaken the valves. Both of these may also be reasons for
undergoing coronary valve replacement surgery.
There are four valves surrounding the heart, and the length of operation will depend on how
many need to be replaced.
Traditional coronary valve replacement - An incision will be made down the
length of the breastbone in order to reach the heart. The heart is then stopped using
medication, and the blood diverted to a heart-lung bypass machine to maintain
circulation. The affected valve is then replaced and the heart re-started using
electrical shocks. The sternum is closed using wires and the incision sewn up.
Minimally invasive surgery - Minimally invasive surgery (also known as ‘keyhole’
surgery) is a less common procedure. This type of surgery avoids the need for an
incision down the sternum and instead uses small incisions between the ribs that
instruments can be passed through. The surgeon then uses a TV monitor in order to
replace the affected valve.
You will need to stay in hospital for around one week. On returning home you can take
painkillers to alleviate the pain, which you be present around the wound. The breastbone
(sternum) will take around six weeks to heal, and you should avoid driving and strenuous
activities during this time.