Valve Repair and Replacement
If you have been diagnosed with advanced valve disease, you can count on our WCHN partner, Danbury Hospital’s Praxair Regional Heart and Vascular Center, for expert valve repair and replacement.
The Center’s surgeons have significant experience in treating valvular stenosis (narrowing of the valve that reduces the amount of blood that can flow through the it) and valvular insufficiency (when a valve doesn’t close completely and blood leaks backward). In adults, the most commonly affected valves are the aortic and mitral valves.
Valve disease has a number of causes, including:
- Calcific degeneration (called stenosis)
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital defect that may lead to calcification of the valve
- Mitral valve prolapse, a mitral valve that closes improperly, resulting in leakage
- Infection, including bacterial endocarditis
- Cardiomyopathy, a malfunction of the heart muscle at the site where the mitral valve attaches, resulting in leakage
- Cancer treatments, such as radiation, which sometimes lead to valve degeneration
- Connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome
Symptoms of heart valve disease that has advanced to the point where treatment may be required include:
- Angina (chest pain and pressure)
- Arrhythmia (shortness of breath)
- Fluid retention
If your heart no longer pumps effectively, your cardiologist and cardiac surgeon will work together to determine whether the best treatment is to repair or replace the damaged valve or valves.
- Valve repair: Valve repair typically involves the mitral or tricuspid valve. The procedure removes weakened portions of the valve, which is then strengthened and shortened to stop the leakage. Mitral valve repair is almost always preferred to mitral valve replacement.
- Valve replacement: Options for aortic or mitral valve replacement include a mechanical valve (manufactured from metals and plastics) or a bioprosthetic valve (made from human or animal tissue). Your surgeon will determine which valve is best suited for your condition.