Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

Steps of Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

First Step in Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

The first step in Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery is receiving general anesthesia in preparation for the surgery, the patient’s cardiac function will be monitored. A sternotomy (incision into the sternum) or thoracotomy may be used to expose the heart, with the thoracotomy providing a smaller incision through the ribs. Minimally invasive techniques may also be used, utilizing a partial sternotomy or a lateral minithoracotomy.

Step of cannulation as a part of Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

These approaches seem to decrease patient recovery time, as well as decreasing potential complications. Anticoagulant is administered in preparation for cardiopulmonary bypass. Cardiopulmonary bypass is instituted by exposing and cannulating (putting tubes into) the great blood vessels of the heart, or by cannulating the femoral artery and vein.

Step of Cardiopulmonary bypass

A combination of cannulation sites may also be used. The heart is stopped after the aorta is clamped. The base of the aorta root is opened, and the diseased valve is removed. Sutures are placed in the aortic rim and into the replacement valve. The replacement valve can be either mechanical or biological tissue. The replacement valve will be sized prior to implant to ensure that it fits the patient based on the size of the aortic valve annulus. Once seated, the valve is secured by tying the individual sutures. The heart is then deaired. The cross clamp is removed and the heart is allowed to beat as deairing continues by manipulation of the left ventricle. Cardiopulmonary bypass is terminated, the tubes are removed, and drugs to reverse anticoagulation are administered.

Final step of Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

A heart valve prevents the flow of blood backward during heartbeats. Replacement heart valves can be mechanical or biological tissue valves. For patients younger than 65 years of age, the mechanical valve offers superior longevity. Anticoagulant medication is required for the life of the patient implanted with a mechanical valve. The biological tissue valve does not require anticoagulation but suffers from deterioration, leading to reoperation, particularly in those under age 50. Women considering bearing children should be treated with biological tissue valves because the anticoagulant of choice with mechanical valves, warfarin, is associated with developmental effects in the fetus. Aspirin can be substituted in certain circumstances.