Heart valve surgery replaces a heart valve that is damaged or narrowed by disease. Your doctor replaces your valve with an artificial valve made of animal tissue. The new valve controls the normal flow of blood into and out of the heart.
It's important to keep in mind that an artificial valve won't work as well as an undamaged natural valve. So even though your heart works better, it may not recover to completely normal levels. If your heart was already working poorly before your surgery, you may still have heart problems.
Artificial valves wear out over time. A tissue valve will last about 10 to 18 years. As long as you have the valve, you and your doctor will need to watch for signs that it's wearing out.
Even though you have a new valve, you still have a serious heart condition that needs to be watched closely. And because tissue valves usually need to be replaced over time, you and your doctor will need to watch for signs that the new valve is wearing out.
These signs will be similar to those you had before your original valve was replaced. Watch for:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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