When the valves that control the flow of blood between the chambers of the heart become diseased or do not function properly, heart valve replacement or heart valve repair surgery may be necessary. Successful heart valve replacement surgery can prolong a patient's life and improve the quality of life. Patients today requiring mitral valve or aortic valve surgery have two heart valve replacement options. Biologic valves involve heart valves and tissue from taken from animals or from human donors. Mechanical valves are made of metal, carbon or synthetics. While heart valve replacement is a major surgery, advances in surgical techniques and technology have greatly reduced the risks and recovery time while greatly improving the number of successful surgeries.
For patients requiring heart valve replacement, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) offers state-of-the-art care in one of the leading cardiovascular centers in the country.
BWH Cardiac Valve Center: a state-of-the-art center for heart valve replacement
A leader in minimally invasive surgery for valve replacement. For nearly a century, BWH has delivered comprehensive treatment to patients with complex heart disorders. BWH 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, the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at BWH is the most advanced center of its kind in the region and the cardiac valve surgery program is one of the largest in the country, treating more than 800 patients every year. Working closely as a team, our cardiologists, surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists and cardiac nurses deliver the most advanced care to patients requiring surgery for aortic valve replacement and mitral valve replacement. Our combination of world-class technology, state-of-the-art techniques and compassionate patient care is the reason BWH is consistently ranked as one of the top cardiovascular centers in the U.S.
In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons use very small incisions to access the heart and perform a heart valve replacement. The benefits to the patient include reduced trauma, less blood loss, reduced pain and a shorter hospital stay. In 1996, BWH was one of the first hospitals in the country to perform minimally invasive aortic valve repair and mitral valve surgery, and BWH surgeons have performed more than 2,600 such surgeries in total. Today, BWH is one of 24 hospitals nationwide that are examining the benefits of a new kind of minimally invasive surgery called percutaneous aortic valve replacement for patients with severe aortic stenosis.