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Valvular Heart Surgery

Heart valve surgery is a procedure to treat heart valve disease. In heart valve disease, at least one of the four heart valves that keep blood flowing in the correct direction through your heart doesn't function properly.

These valves include the mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve. Each valve has flaps called leaflets, for the mitral and tricuspid valves, and cusps, for the aortic and pulmonary valves. These flaps open and close once during each heartbeat. Sometimes the valves don't open or close properly, disrupting the blood flow through your heart to your body.

In heart valve surgery, your surgeon repairs or replaces the affected heart valves. Many surgical procedures may be used to repair or replace heart valves, including open-heart surgery or minimally invasive heart surgery.

Your treatment depends on several factors, including your age, health, the condition of the heart valve that is affected and the severity of your condition.

Heart valve surgery may be needed if your condition is getting worse, your condition is severe or you're experiencing signs and symptoms of valve dysfunction.

Doctor may evaluate you to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. If you're not experiencing signs or symptoms, or your condition is mild, your doctor may suggest monitoring your condition over time. He or she may recommend healthy lifestyle changes. You may be prescribed medications to manage any symptoms.

However, your valve may eventually need to be repaired or replaced. In some cases, doctors may recommend heart valve repair or replacement even if you're not experiencing symptoms. If you need heart surgery for another condition, doctors may conduct surgery to repair or replace the affected heart valve at the same time.

Your doctor will discuss with you whether heart valve repair or replacement is most appropriate for your condition. Doctors often recommend heart valve repair when possible, as it preserves your heart valve and may preserve heart function. In some cases, you may need heart valve replacement.

Doctors may also evaluate if you're a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of each procedure.

Heart valve surgery should generally be performed at a medical center with staff that has experience in performing heart valve surgery and that has conducted high volumes of heart valve surgeries.

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