What does heart valve surgery involve?

Heart valve surgery

I’ve been told I need to have valve surgery. What does the surgery involve?

Dr Mike Knapton says:

Your heart has four valves; each is responsible for ensuring that blood flows in the correct direction around your body. Where a valve is diseased or damaged, it can affect the blood flow.

Any decision about surgery is a big one, and the potential benefits and risks need to be considered with your doctor

Surgery can repair a damaged valve or replace the whole valve with a new one. This usually requires a major operation and open heart surgery. Recently, techniques have been developed to enable minimally invasive valve surgery. Traditional surgery is still more common, though.

Most patients experience symptoms from their valve disease, but not everyone. In your case, the specialist will have recommended surgery to prevent more problems developing in the future. Any decision about surgery is a big one, and the potential benefits and risks need to be considered with your doctor.

Mike KnaptonMeet the expert

Dr Mike Knapton is Associate Medical Director (Prevention and Care) at the BHF, overseeing the strategic role in helping patients and the public reduce their risk of heart disease. He remains a GP and works one day a week at a practice in Cambridge.

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