The human heart pumps sixty to eighty times per minute to deliver blood to the body - carrying nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells and keeping us alive. Electrical signals from the brain regulate the heart's rhythmic pumping - the top chambers and bottom chambers pump in synchrony to ensure maximum functioning. Valves between the chambers keep blood flowing in the proper direction.
But what happens when problems with the valves in the heart interfere with their ability to close? As it is essential that blood flow in one direction through the heart, a 'backwash' of blood going the wrong way through the heart's chambers can interrupt blood flow and cause inefficient pumping. Heart valve replacement surgery may be necessary to fix the problem.
The procedure is an open heart surgery, meaning that the breastbone is cut open and the rib cage is separated. After being placed under heavy anesthesia, the patient will be placed on a heart-lung machine to pump blood to the body and allow the surgical team to stop the heart and operate on it. The replacement valve may come from animal tissue or they may be mechanical, meaning that they are fashioned from a material like metal or cloth. Mechanical valves last longer, but patients will need to take blood-thinning medication for the rest of their lives.
The heart valve replacement surgery cost will vary greatly depending on insurance coverage, the patient's pre-existing health, and location of the facility. The Cardiology Center provides excellent patient care coverage and an ideal location for heart valve replacement surgery recovery. They provide a wealth of information online about their surgical facilities, their staff, and other innovations like minimally invasive cardiac surgery. It is important for patients to have the right care when undergoing a major surgical procedure, and being well-informed makes preparation and surgery better.