Mitral Valve Replacement
What you should know
Mitral valve replacement is open heart surgery to replace all or part of the mitral valve. The mitral valve normally opens and closes to let blood pass through the heart. If your mitral valve does not open or close correctly, blood may not flow as it should through your heart.
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- You may bleed or get an infection during or after surgery. You may need a blood transfusion or more surgery. After surgery, your new valve may not work or your heart may not beat as it should. Over time the new valve or area around it may become damaged. Symptoms you had before the surgery may come back or get worse after surgery. You may need to have heart valve surgery again.
- You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. You may need medicine to prevent blood clots for the rest of your life after your surgery. Without surgery, you may get short of breath or tired more often. Blood and fluid could build up in your lungs and cause heart failure.
Before your surgery:
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- You may need blood tests or a nasal swab test before your procedure. You also may need to see a dentist to make sure you do not have an infection. This can cause problems after valve surgery. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time and location for each test.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
The night before your surgery:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure or surgery. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- You will be given general anesthesia medicine to make you sleep. One or more incisions will be made in your chest. Caregivers will connect your heart to a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine does the work of your heart and lungs during surgery.
- Part or all of your mitral valve will be removed. Your mitral valve will be replaced with a tissue valve or mechanical valve and sewn in place. Caregivers may put wires your chest that stay in for a short time after surgery. The wires can be used to improve your heartbeat. The bypass machine will be removed, and your own heart and lungs will start working again. The incision in your chest will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage. The bandage keeps the area clean and dry to help prevent infection.
You will be taken to the recovery room or an intensive care unit (ICU). Caregivers will watch you very closely. A caregiver may remove the bandage shortly after surgery to check the incision. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to surgery on time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You start to feel ill, tired, or have trouble breathing.
- You feel more sick than usual, or your breathing trouble gets worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Mitral Valve Replacement (Precare)
Symptoms and treatment for: