How safe is aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery?

Fewer people undergoing aortic valve replacement (AVR) are being rehospitalized in the year following surgery, indicating the surgery is safer and the recovery has become easier.

Aortic valve disease is common among older people and frequently requires valve replacement. Previous research has shown that one-year survival after open AVR surgery is high, with nine in 10 people surviving.

A study focusing on the experience of these survivors in terms of the need for hospitalization during the year following surgery found that among the 293,853 people in the study group, three in five were free from hospitalization during the year following surgery, and one-year hospitalization rates declined from 44.2% in 1999 to 40.9% in 2010. Roughly half of all hospitalizations occurred during the first 30 days after surgery, which indicates the need to monitor people closely during this period of heightened risk. Average cumulative length of stay also decreased, from 4.8 days to 4.0 days.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that both the rates of hospitalization and the average total number of days spent in the hospital in the year following surgery have decreased; however, certain subgroups (older people, females, black people, and those undergoing combined AVR and coronary artery bypass grafting surgery) had higher rates of hospitalization, which the researchers noted warrants increased attention.

Continue Learning about Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

More than a half million surgeries are done each year to correct heart problems in children and adults. One of the most common types of heart surgery performed is coronary artery bypass grafting, which uses a blood vessel taken fr...

om another part of the body to bypass a blocked artery and help prevent a heart attack. Another is heart valve replacement, used to repair heart valves that don't open and close properly. Heart surgery can be minimally invasive, such as when a small incision is made to the chest to insert a pacemaker. At the other extreme is open-heart surgery, which requires a large incision to the chest to open the rib cage and operate on the heart. Learn more about the different kinds of heart surgeries with expert advice from Sharecare.

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.