Heart valve repair or replacement surgery is performed to repair a defective or diseased heart valve.
Heart valve repair or replacement surgery is an open-heart surgery. Before performing the repair, the surgeon will connect the heart to a cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), or heart-lung machine, which assumes the function of the heart and lungs. To keep the heart still, the heart is stopped or "arrested" so the surgeon can perform the precise surgery on the heart without it beating. The heart-lung machine allows blood to continue circulating in the body while the surgery is performed.
During heart valve repair, a cardiothoracic surgeon repairs the heart valve using the patient's own tissues. For a heart valve replacement, the valve is removed and a new heart valve is sutured into place. Heart replacement valves are made from metal and plastic or from tissue from humans or animals.
Following the surgery, cardiac rehabilitation is provided in stages to help reduce risk for future heart problems and to make the recovery process quick.