Reasons to Have Heart Valve Surgery
The four valves in your heart are necessary to keep blood flowing in the right direction. The heart valves open when blood needs to flow forward through them, and then close to prevent blood from flowing backwards.
The heart valves can stop functioning properly. If a valve that doesn't close properly, blood leaks back through the valve. This is referred to as regurgitation. If too much blood flows backward through the valve, not enough blood will get to your organs and tissues to properly deliver oxygen.
Another problem that can develop is stenosis of a valve.
Valve problems can occur as birth defects, from infection, from calcification (a hardening due to a build up of calcium on the tissue), or sometimes from certain medications.
Valve Repair Procedures
If valve problems are causing reduced functioning of the heart, procedures can be performed to improve valve function. Valves can be repaired or replaced.
Some valve repair can be performed using a balloon catheter to push back buildup in the valve to enlarge the space that blood can flow through.
In other cases, surgery is required to repair valves. The valve can be strengthened or reshaped, the calcium buildup can be removed, any holes can be patched, or structural supports for the valves can be repaired.
Surgery is also available to fully replace faulty valves. Replacement valves are either from biological tissues or mad-made materials. Valve surgery is an open-heart surgery.