Valve Repair and Replacement

Our network partner at Danbury Hospital’s Praxair Regional Heart and Vascular Center offers expertise in valve repair and replacement for patients with advanced valve disease. Some valve conditions that Danbury Hospital treats include valvular stenosis (a reduction in the amount of blood that can flow through the valve) and valvular insufficiency (where the valves do not close completely and blood leaks backward across the valve). 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 have 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 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.