When a person is considering heart valve replacement or repair, it can be helpful to know the overall goals of the procedure and how your medical professionals will track the success and your return to wellness. Here are some of the likely goals for any valve surgery.
Goal 1: Lengthen and improve the quality of life.
The odds are very good that valve repair or replacement will successfully lengthen life and improve health and quality of life, and most valve patients can expect to return to their full activity level. Although not all valve conditions are life-threatening, it could be a mistake to assume the condition is insignificant; some valve disease problems can lead to an increased risk of death if treatment recommendations are not followed. Some valve disease problems can lead to a significantly increased risk of death. If you’ve been told that your valve requires treatment, it should not be ignored or postponed indefinitely. If finances are keeping you from receiving surgical treatment that you need, there are studies and government initiatives to help make the procedure affordable. Learn more about healthcare laws and government programs seeking to provide affordable coverage at the HealthCare.gov website.
Goal 2: Maintain an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood flowing through your heart.
To feel energized and healthy, we all need a good supply of blood carrying oxygen and energy to our body. A damaged valve can reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood, but a valve replacement or repair can restore your heart’s ability to serve the needs of the rest of the body.
Goal 3: Reduce the possibility of damaging your heart and blood vessels.
An improperly working valve can harm the entire surrounding area of tissue and muscle required for pumping blood. Your medical professionals will want to help you select a treatment plan that will offer the best long-term strategy. They will evaluate the condition and function of each part of your hemodynamic system, which refers to all the functional parts that work together to pump blood. They will measure the pressure on your valves before and after surgery by measuring the jet velocity (pressure on the valve) and ejection fraction (amount of blood pumped out).
Goal 4: Reduce as many unpleasant symptoms as possible.
Your healthcare team will also seek to help you feel as good as possible during your procedure and after your recovery.
Goal 5: Give you the best possible option for returning a healthy and active life.
Your providers will also weigh your risks for surgery with the possibility of your return to a healthy and active lifestyle. Depending on your heart health, your overall health, your age and your ability to heal after surgery, they will help you choose a plan that provides as full a recovery as possible.
Goal 6: Achieve recovery milestones.
Your healthcare professionals can also help you determine your return to health by helping to identify milestones such as sitting up alone, walking short distances, self-care and bathing, incision healing, walking longer distances, driving, and within a few weeks, returning to work and engaging in all activities.
Additional resources from Adam Pick's blog:
- 5 Things to Do While Your Heart Mends (After Surgery)
- Guest Blog: Jim Talks About Pain, Cardiac Rehab & Mowing Lawns After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
This content was last reviewed on 04/18/13.