If you have an advanced heart valve disease, such as aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation, surgery can help relieve your symptoms, prevent further heart damage and get you back to health.

At the Orlando Health Heart Valve Center, we offer high-level expertise in open surgery for heart valve repair or replacement. Our specialists work as an integrated team and have performed thousands of successful surgeries. We’ll help determine the best treatment for you so that you can enjoy more good years of your life.

Who is a Candidate for Open Surgery for Heart Valve Conditions?

Open surgery is the most common approach to treating advanced heart valve conditions and relieve severe symptoms. In some cases — such as frail health, past heart disease, multiple surgeries, stroke or kidney disease — open heart surgery is too high-risk. If so, your doctor will consider whether less invasive approaches are more appropriate for you.

Types of Open Surgery for Valve Repair or Replacement

When you undergo open surgery, depending on the severity of your damaged heart valve, you may have it repaired, replaced or a combination of both.

  • Valve repair – During this procedure, your surgeon may cut, shape or rebuild the damaged valve flaps (leaflets) that open and close the valve.
  • Valve replacement – During this procedure, your surgeons will implant a new valve to replace one or more diseased valves. The valve(s) may be mechanical (stainless steel, titanium or ceramic) or made of tissue (using human or animal tissue). Mechanical valves last longer, but require lifetime use of blood-thinning medicine to prevent clots. Tissue valves usually need to be replaced after 12 to 15 years, but don’t require blood thinners following surgery.
  • Hybrid surgery – For some conditions, our surgeons perform a combination of minimally invasive therapies and open surgery. Integrated teams work in hybrid suites equipped for both types of surgery.

What to Expect if You Have Open Surgery for Valve Disorders

Before surgery, a doctor will attach electrodes (small metal disks) to your chest. These will connect to a machine that monitors electrical activity and heart rhythm. You will receive anesthesia and other medications to help you relax. This allows you to be asleep during surgery and not feel any pain.

Once you are asleep, your surgeon will cut into the area of your heart that needs to be fixed and perform surgery as necessary. A perfusionist (blood flow specialist) will manage heart-lung bypass equipment, which supports your heart and breathing during the procedure. The surgery typically takes around two to four hours.

Most valve-surgery patients stay in the hospital for about a week following surgery. This includes one or more days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Your doctor and care team will discuss your discharge and recovery, including a cardiac rehabilitation plan. Most patients get back to work or normal activities within a month to six weeks.

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To contact us or schedule an appointment, click below or call 321.841.4324.

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Our doctors will determine if heart valve repair surgery is the best treatment for your particular condition.