The heart has 4 chambers and blood flows through the chambers pumping pure and impure blood throughout the body. The four chambers have doors, called valves, in them. If these valves are weakened or diseased then their functioning may be impaired. A valve may be slightly open even after blood is pumped out of the respective chamber. As a result, blood may regurgitate or backflow into chambers from which they are pumped out. This indicates ‘valvular disease’ whose symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, bluish skin tone, chest pain, fluid retention, especially in the lower limbs.
Replacement of valves
Valve replacement is done using either Metal Artificial Valve – created from carbon and polyester materials that have a life of 10-20 years, or a Biological Valve – created from human or animal tissue. The biological valves don’t last as long as an artificial valve.
Mitral Valve Replacement (MVR)
Mitral valve allows blood from left atrium to enter left ventricle. MVR involves replacing the defective Mitral Valve, which may have defects in either opening completely (Stenosis), which is difficult for the blood to enter or closing completely, which causes regurgitation.
Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)
Aortic valve allows the blood from heart to flow outside. AVR involves replacing the defective Aortic valve, as it may have defects in closing-up, causing leakage of blood.
Double Valve Replacement (DVR)
DVR is replacement of both Mitral Valve and Aortic Valve
Pulmonary Valve Replacement
A pulmonary valve replacement is needed due to stenosis, which restricts blood flow from the pulmonary artery to the right ventricle of the heart.
The surgeon makes an incision on the chest area and the patient is placed on the heart-lung machine and the diseased valves are replaced by making incisions on the aorta. The patient is hospitalised for at least 7-10 days and the complete recovery takes several weeks / months.