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An Aortic valve repair is a medical procedure to treat diseases that affects the aortic valve – one of the four valves that regulate blood flow to your heart. The type of diseases that usually need treatment are aortic valve regurgitation, congenital heart disease, and aortic valve stenosis.
The procedure starts with a general anesthetic and you will not feel any pain throughout the surgery. Your doctor may perform the procedure through traditional open-surgery with the opening of the chest bone or through a less invasive procedure called balloon valvuloplasty. The procedure may involve various different types of repair, such as adding support at the base roots of the valve, reshaping tissue to allow the valve to close tightly, separating fused valve cusps, and inserting tissue to patch holes in the flaps that close off the valve.
You may need to spend a day or two in the intensive care unit (ICU), then you will be moved to a regular room and expect to stay in the hospital for several days. The total recommended time you should spend in Thailand is around 14 days or until your surgeon says it is okay for you to travel.
The recovery time depends on your general health before the procedure and any complications. You can expect to gradually regain your energy and return to your normal activity level within four to eight weeks.
You will need to attend regular follow-up appointments, but you can schedule these appointments with your local doctor instead of your doctor in Thailand if you prefer. You will be instructed to make healthy lifestyle changes, including physical activities (such as regular exercises), a healthy diet, stress management, and avoiding cigarettes, to reduce the risk of future complications and keep your heart healthy.
Aortic valve repair is highly successful, safe and it offers a long-term solution. Only 1 in 10 patients required another operation within ten years after surgery and the risk of death is less than 1%. Still, it is good to be aware of the side effects and the risks of the procedure, which include bleeding, stroke, valve dysfunction, heart rhythm problems, infection, blood clots, and death.
If aortic valve repair is not the ideal option for you, your doctor may recommend transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) instead. In some cases, aortic valve replacement can also be an option.
Aortic valves that are not working properly can interfere with your blood flow, forcing your heart to work harder. It can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and more dangerous conditions, such as heart failure and sudden cardiac death. After the procedure, your normal blood flow is restored, your symptoms are relieved, the function of your heart muscle is preserved, and your life may be prolonged.
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