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Valve Repair and Replacement

Heart valve surgery is used to repair or replace diseased heart valves. There are four valves in the heart: the aortic valve, mitral valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve.

The valves control the direction of blood flow through the heart. The opening and closing of the heart valves produce the sound of the heartbeat.

Heart valve surgery is open-heart surgery done under general anesthesia. A cut is made through the breastbone. Blood is routed away from the heart to a heart-lung bypass machine, which keeps the blood circulating during the operation.

Valves may be repaired or replaced. Replacement heart valves are either natural (biologic) or artificial (mechanical). Artificial valves may require recipients to take lifelong medication to prevent blood clots. Natural valves rarely require lifelong medication.

Heart valve surgery may be recommended for narrowing of the heart valve, called stenosis; or leaking of the heart valve, called regurgitation.

Valve problems may be caused by birth defects, calcium deposits, infections or medications. Defective valves may cause congestive heart failure and infections.

Learn more about Valve Replacement Surgery

Risks associated with the procedure may include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Reactions to medications
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Temporary confusion after surgery when a heart-lung machine is used

The success rate of heart valve surgery is high. The operation can relieve symptoms and prolong life. The death rate averages 2 to 5 percent, depending on the heart valve. About two-thirds of the patients who receive an artificial mitral valve are still alive nine years after the surgery.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.