Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (MIAVR) is a surgical technique that replaces your faulty aortic valve. It can reduce pain, blood loss and hospital stay and is associated with fewer complications.
Traditional aortic surgery involves making a large incision in your chest or rib cage and has a significant recovery period. Using minimally invasive techniques, your surgeon makes smaller incisions.
What is a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement?
A minimally invasive aortic valve replacement is a type of heart surgery used to replace an aortic valve that doesn’t work well. The procedure uses a small incision and a special catheter to place an artificial valve in the heart.
This less invasive method is especially helpful for people with complex health conditions who have been told that traditional open-heart surgery is too risky for them. It also helps them get in sooner and get help before their problems become worse.
Your doctor will tell you if a minimally invasive aortic valve surgery is right for you. The decision will be based on your age, medical history and the type and severity of your problem.
What happens during a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement?
Aortic valves maintain one-way blood flow from your heart to your aorta (main artery). Valve problems can cause you to experience shortness of breath, pain, swelling and fatigue.
The type of aortic valve you have can affect how well your heart pumps blood, so having surgery to repair or replace it may improve your health. Your doctor will review your medical history, diagnostic tests and other factors to determine if aortic valve surgery is the best treatment option for you.
Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement is a form of aortic valve surgery that is performed through smaller, 2- to 4-inch incisions without opening your chest completely. It can reduce blood loss, trauma, length of hospital stay and may accelerate recovery.
You may be a candidate for minimally invasive aortic valve surgery if you have bicuspid aortic valve disease, tricuspid aortic valve disease, or aortic stenosis and do not have a coexisting condition. However, your surgeon will review your diagnostic tests and other factors to decide if aortic valve surgery is right for you.
What happens after a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement?
If you have aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation, your heart valve may not open enough to allow blood to move out of your heart and to the rest of your body. These problems can cause shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain.
If your symptoms are not relieved by medications, surgery can improve your quality of life and help you lead a normal, healthy life. During the minimally invasive aortic valve replacement, the surgeon replaces the damaged valve with an artificial one.
The operation usually takes 2 – 3 hours, although some TAVR procedures take shorter time. After the operation, you will spend a few days in the hospital and then a few weeks in a rehabilitation facility to learn how to manage your symptoms and take care of yourself.
Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement is an effective, safe and well-tolerated procedure. It is a valuable option for patients who are at high risk of complications from conventional aortic valve replacement.
How do I prepare for a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement?
When your heart valves are damaged, you may need surgery to repair or replace them. The right type of valve surgery depends on your age, health history and the severity of your problem.
The most common types of valve replacement include mechanical (manmade) and biological (from animals or your own tissue). Valve materials are made of long-lasting metals, carbon, ceramics or plastics.
People who have aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation often are better candidates for a minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI) than open-heart surgery. This surgery uses a catheter and a small balloon to guide the valve into the heart.
The decision whether to perform minimally invasive aortic valve surgery is based on the patient’s heart function, chest anatomy and co-existing medical conditions. It is important to identify any exposure problems in a preoperative evaluation.