Heart Valve Surgery

Heart valve surgery is an operation that replaces valve tissue by removing what is damaged and replacing it with a new valve made from plastic, metal, or bioprosthetic choices. The effects of the surgery will help the heart to function better thus improving overall health and the function of other vital organs as well. Robotic heart surgery decreases the risk associated with a complex operation because the use of technology makes it less invasive. The use of robotic arms limits the size of the incision to about six centimeters or less. This procedure also reduces the pain and recovery time compared to a conventional procedure. Timing is everything on having this procedure since the longer a person goes with tissue damage the more harm is done to the aorta.
Plastic and metal valves increase the risk of clotting but will probably never need to be replaced. Bioprosthetic ones are usually made from pig tissue and decrease the risk of clotting but do not last as long and may need to be replaced eventually. Heart valve surgery is an option for anyone who has cardiac failure. Some of the conditions that can lead to having the procedure are untreated high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, valve deterioration, and problems with the cardiac muscle. Cardiac failure symptoms include shortness of breath, irregular or fast heartbeat, coughing up mucous, swelling of legs, fatigue, and dizziness.

The risks of developing cardiac disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes. Some pain relievers can increase risks; these include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and prescription drugs known as cox-2 inhibitors. Having rheumatic fever greatly increases a person’s risk of needing robotic heart surgery. Rheumatic fever is caused from strep throat that has gone untreated. The condition can cause inflammation in the body that leads to valve damage. God’s Word can serve as a reminder that His will for His children is to be healthy and prosperous. People who are worried about health related conditions should seek God for healing. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2)

Stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and death are risks associated with heart valve surgery. Anesthesia can complicate the procedure if the patient reacts badly to the medication or has problems breathing. As with any type of surgical procedure there is a risk of bleeding and infection. The benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks because of the positive result on heart function and the relief from symptoms associated with valve damage. Intensive care may be needed for about three days after the operation and the hospital stay may be as long as two weeks. Total recovery time may take up to several months but that is dependent upon the patient’s health before the operation.

There are four valves in the aorta that help to control the blood flow; the opening and closing of these is what makes the sound of the heartbeat. These are called aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonary. During the heart valve surgery a patient is put on a bypass machine that keeps the blood circulating doing the operation. The replacement valves can come from several different sources including human donors, and animal donors. The artificial ones are made from plastic or metal. The decision on what type of tissue to use will depend upon the general health of the patient and other health conditions.

New technology allows a surgeon to use robotic arms so that the operation is less invasive. Robotic heart surgery makes recovery time less and post operative pain is minimized. A video monitor allows the surgeon to see the site and the endoscope responds to simple voice commands. This allows the surgeon to tell the endoscope where to locate for better visualization of the site. The mechanical arms become the surgeon’s eyes and hands during the operation. The incision necessary for this procedure is much smaller than possible when doing the operation conventionally. The mechanical arms can do the repair and replacement of damaged valves in very small places compared to the surgeon using his or her hands.

Smoking is one of the very worse things a person can do because it is so detrimental to health. Smoking cigarettes decreases the oxygen to the aorta, increases blood pressure and heart rate, and can damage cells to the arteries causing them to become stiff and narrow. One way to avoid robotic heart surgery is to quit smoking. Smoking not only affects the heart but can also damage the lungs causing conditions such as lung cancer and emphysema. The skin and the teeth are affected by cigarette smoke and the risk of developing other diseases will greatly be diminished when a person quits. Some of these include throat cancer, esophageal cancer, and ulcers.

Losing weight is another big issue that needs to be addressed to decrease the risks of cardiac disease, and other health problems. Being overweight can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, breast and colon cancer, and respiratory problems. The best way to lose weight is to increase activity and decrease calories. The healthiest way to do this is to choose to eat healthy and exercise at least 30 minutes per day five days per week. Some people think just being a few pounds overweight will not make much of a difference but anything over 10 pounds is too much and does increase the chances of obesity related problems.