The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood through the body. It consists of four chambers the upper chambers are the right and the left atria and the lower chambers are the left and right ventricles. The right ventricle connects to the pulmonary artery and left ventricle to the arota,valves are located at these connections to ensure that blood moves only in one direction. The parts of the valve that open and close have a tissue called cusps. The aortic valve is located in between the left ventricle and aorta, When the heart contracts the aortic valve opens and blood is pumped into the aorta and when the heart relaxes it closes to prevent blood from leaking back into the left ventricle a normal aortic have three smooth cusps that open widely and close tightly. When this aortic valve becomes leaky and narrow it causes the heart to work harder and disrupt the blood flow. The leaky valve does not close all the way causing blood to leak back into ventricle between each heart beat. After a period of time a faulty aoritic can cause a heart muscles to become enlarged and weaken, depending on the nature of the valves defect the walls of the left ventricle may become abnormally thick or thin and which eventrually affects the right side of the heart.
Procedure behind Aortic Valve Replacement
- An aortic valve replacement is performed to restore the valve to the normal function.
- Before the procedure is started an IV pain medication and sedatives are given to the arm. A catcher will be inserted into bladder to drain urine.
- Aortic valve replacements are done under general anesthesia. A tube will be placed into the mouth and windpipe to help breathe during the surgery.
- Once the anesthesia takes it effect the traditional incision is made in the middle upper chest over line the breast bone and sternum. The sternum is then separated to expose the pericardium which is a protective membrane encircling the heart.
- At this point your heart will be connected to the lung machine and tubes are used to rewrite the blood into machine which takes over the functions of heart and lungs during the operation.
- Once the heart lung machine has taken over the heart will be temporarily stopped and the blood inside is removed.
- An incision is made around the edge of the damaged valve and the damaged valve is removed carefully and slowly the replacement valve is replaced to enclose the aorta with stitches at this point the blood will again allowed to flow into the heart to check the function of the new valve. An electric shock will be given to the heart to restart the heart. Once the heart is beating on its own it will be detached from the heart lung machine.
- Generally a temporary pacemaker wires are placed on the heart to ensure that heart maintains the normal rhythm during recovery.