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Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery: An Introduction
The goal of replacing the aortic valve through surgery is to remove a defective aortic valve and replace it with one that will work more efficiently.
Your surgeon will then make a 6- to 8-inch incision down the middle of your chest. Your breastbone is then separated, the heart sac is carefully pulled back, and your heart is examined.
At this point, you will be given a large dose of a blood-thinning medicine, called heparin, to make sure that your blood does not clot. Your surgeon will then connect your heart to the heart-lung bypass machine with a plastic tube. Blood from your heart is then sent to the bypass machine through this tube.
The machine supplies your blood with oxygen, and then pumps it back to the rest of your body through the other tube. While connected to the heart-lung bypass machine, your blood simply bypasses your heart and your lungs, but still reaches the rest of your body.
After the heart-lung bypass is established, your heart will need to be cooled to keep it still. Then, the aortic valve replacement
procedure can begin.
The aorta is gently opened to reveal your aortic valve. Your surgeon will then carefully remove the old aortic valve. At this time, your doctor will then select a mechanical or tissue replacement valve, and this will be sewn into place with stitches. Once securely in place, the aorta will be closed with stitches.