When is an aortic valve replacement done?

The most common valve operation is aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis. The aortic valve resides deep within the heart and regulates the blood supply to all of the major vessels of the body. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve tightens or narrows, preventing blood from easily flowing through. Aortic stenosis may manifest itself along with other heart problems such as coronary artery blockages or other valvular disease.

Aortic insufficiency may also require aortic valve replacement. With aortic insufficiency, the aortic valve no longer adequately retains blood, allowing leakage through the valve back into the heart. Aortic insufficiency can lead to heart failure.

Surgical options for either aortic stenosis or insufficiency include the implantation of a mechanical valve, a tissue valve, or your own valve (the Ross procedure). The type of valve used typically depends on the severity of symptoms and other individual health concerns, such as age and the use of blood thinners. The procedure may require a sternotomy (opening of the chest bone) or, in select cases, may be performed through a minimally invasive approach, using a series of small incisions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.