If you have aortic valve disease, surgery may be the best way to correct it. Fortunately, Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular in Portland is home to some of this region’s most experienced cardiac surgeons, with exceptional expertise in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Our multidisciplinary team will talk with you to learn your values and goals. Together, we’ll decide which technique best fits your condition and your preferences.
This personalized approach combined with the extensive skill of our heart surgeons and our diligent nursing staff leads to better outcomes for our patients. In fact, on average, our aortic valve replacement patients spend just 4.5 days in the hospital, compared the national average of 7.5 days.
Surgical options for aortic valves
The aortic valve doesn’t heal itself. When you have aortic valve disease — most often from stenosis (hardening or narrowing) or leaking (regurgitation) — surgery may eventually become necessary. Surgery can:
- Repair a valve
- Replace a valve
Most patients with aortic valve disease will need valve replacement. Sometimes, part of the aorta may also need to be replaced.
Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular’s heart surgeons are experts in valve repair and replacement. In fact, one of the world leaders in minimally invasive valve surgery, Dr. Thomas Molloy, is our medical director.
Depending on your valve’s unique condition and your personal goals, our heart surgeons may recommend:
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
- Minimally invasive surgical aortic valve repair or replacement
- Open-chest surgical aortic valve repair or replacement
In most cases, our surgeons’ expertise makes TAVR or minimally invasive surgery possible.
Types of replacement heart valves
When valve replacement is necessary, there are two kinds of prosthetic heart valves available today:
Mechanical valves are created from man-made materials and typically do not wear out. Patients with mechanical heart valves must take an anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medicine for the rest of their lives to prevent blood clots.
Biological valves are usually made from cow (bovine) or pig (porcine) tissue and are less likely to cause clots. These valves are less durable, however, and younger patients may require another replacement later in life.
Homograft valves are obtained from a human heart donor, preserved and frozen. They are ideal valve replacement material in the presence of infection and in older patients when aortic root replacement is necessary.
For some patients, valve repair is the optimal treatment. With valve repair, the patient retains normal heart anatomy and function, and anticoagulation treatment isn’t required.
Which procedure and valve are right for you
The most appropriate treatment and valve type depends on your age, health, valve condition and personal preference. Working closely with you and your cardiologist, we can help you choose the most appropriate procedure for your specific situation.
This careful customization leads to the best outcomes for our patients. Check out quality data for aortic valve surgery at Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular.