Your heart is the chief primary pump of your body, its main function being to pump and circulate oxygenated blood all through your body and deoxygenated blood back to the lungs for removal.
The heart is a pump, with heart valves that allow blood to flow in a single direction throughout the heart. There are four valves that determine the flow of blood through the heart. A heart valve can either open or close based on the changes in blood pressure.
The four main valves in the heart are:
- There are two atrioventricular (AV) valves, the mitral valve (or the bicuspid valve), and the tricuspid valve, which are located between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
- There are two semilunar (SL) valves, the aortic valve and the pulmonary valve, which separate the heart and the arteries leaving the heart.
If there is a defect in any of the above-mentioned valves, this could be a possible indication for heart valve surgery. The defect in the heart valves can be either congenital (from birth) or acquired.
The surgical procedures on the heart include:
In most of cases, heart valve replacement is an open surgery. What this means is that the surgeon will open your chest and heart to remove the damaged valve. Then, the new artificial (or prosthetic) valve is sewn into place. In some cases, the valve can also be replaced less invasively, without opening the chest.
The surgical procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia mostly and requires a dedicated change in lifestyle and rehabilitative exercises to help recover full heart function. Your cardiologist will choose the best procedure to treat you.