heart valve surgery

A number of diseases can cause the heart valves to malfunction. They can become calcified and stiffen causing an obstruction to blood flow, as in aortic or mitral valve stenosis. The valves can also weaken and leak, resulting in a backward flow of blood, as in aortic or mitral valve regurgitation or insufficiency. All of these scenarios lead to abnormal pressures and flow within the heart, lungs and aorta with deleterious secondary effects.

The diagnosis of heart valve problems is usually made by your primary physician and/or cardiologist using physical exams and other tests such as echocardiography. Many of these conditions can be managed medically; however, in cases of severe valve malfunction or evidence of heart enlargement or dysfunction, surgery to repair or replace the damaged valve can be lifesaving.

In many instances, our surgeons can use a variety of surgical techniques to repair and reconstruct the native valve. These techniques have shown superior long-term results and can help avoid the need for blood thinning medications. We repair a higher percentage of mitral valves than any other facility in the region. In many cases, these operations can be performed minimally invasively.

Some disease states are not amenable to repair and the native valve must be replaced. Bon Secours cardiac surgeons are skilled in techniques utilizing the latest in heart valve technology, utilizing bioprosthetic (tissue), mechanical or homograft (donated human tissue) valves.

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