Aortic valve replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the aortic valve, one of the valves that controls the flow of blood through the heart. Aortic valve replacement or aortic valve repair may be recommended if the aortic valve has become diseased or does not function properly. Successful aortic valve surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve can prolong a patient's life and improve the quality of life.
Patients requiring aortic valve replacement have a choice of artificial valves. These include biologic valves, which involve heart valves and tissue from taken from animals or from human donors, and mechanical valves, which are made of metal, carbon or synthetics. Traditional heart valve replacement surgery involves an extensive incision in the chest or rib cage and has a significant recovery period. Minimally invasive valve replacement uses a smaller incision, resulting in less trauma, blood loss and pain as well as a shorter hospital stay.
Patients requiring aortic valve replacement or heart valve repair can look to Brigham and Women's Hospital for comprehensive and innovative care.
Brigham and Women's Hospital performed the world's first successful heart valve surgery in 1923 and has been a center of excellence and innovation in the years since. Today, Brigham and Women's Hospital is ranked as one of the top providers of cardiovascular care in the country, providing expert and compassionate care for patients requiring coronary and vascular disease treatment at the Carl J and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center. The most advanced facility of its kind in the region, the Shapiro Center is equipped with state-of-the art technology and spaces designed to meet the needs of cardiovascular patients and their families. Patients undergoing aortic valve replacement or other heart valve surgeries, such as mitral valve replacement, are treated at the Center by a team of experts that include cardiologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, and surgeons who are leaders in the field.
Medical advances in replacement surgery for the aortic valve
Percutaneous aortic valve replacement (PAVR) is a new procedure for patients who are not ideal candidates for traditional replacement surgery. Brigham and Women's Hospital is one of only 24 facilities in the country that are evaluating the benefits of this minimally invasive procedure. PAVR uses a catheter inserted through an incision in the upper leg to install a synthetic valve, replacing the diseased aortic valve. While traditional aortic valve replacement procedures involve open heart surgery, taking 4 to 6 hours and requiring 2 to 3 months of recovery, PAVR takes only 90 minutes and requires just a few days for recovery.