Heart Valve Disease

Surgical interventions in this type of disease are highly likely even though lifestyle changes and medications can delay problems for a considerable length of time. Medications for this disease are for heart failure prevention by widening the blood vessels and getting rid of excess fluid. They also lower high BP and cholesterol, prevent arrhythmias and thin the blood and prevent clots. The treatment strategy also includes prevention of Infective endocarditis through proper dental hygiene. Heart valves are also repaired and replaced if they are dysfunctional depending upon their severity. Heart valve repair is always preferred over replacement. Valves maybe repaired by separating fused flaps, reshaping tissue so that they close tighter and adding tissue to locations of tear and holes to strengthen the base of the valve. Balloon Valvuloplasty is done for heart valves that don’t open fully (stenosis). The procedure involves insertion of a catheter in the artery and threaded to the location of the valve where the balloon is inflated, widening the opening. The tube is then taken out after deflating the balloon. The patient is awake during the procedure and it takes just an overnight stay at the hospital. Replacement of heart valves is done when there is no possibility of repair. Biological valves are made of heart tissue from pig, cow or human heart. They are specially treated so that the body does not reject them. Unlike biological valves, man-made valves last longer but with them one has to take blood thinning medicines for life so that clots are not formed. Several other surgeries are available these days that do not require major incisions. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a procedure in which catheter mounted valves are fitted in place of faulty aortic valves. Also, procedures are available in which pulmonary valve is fitted in place of aortic valve while pulmonary valve from deceased human subject replaces the pulmonary valve. This procedure is called Ross operation. Replacement valve can also be inserted in an existing valve that is dysfunctional. This procedure is called valve-in-valve procedure.