Heart valve surgery


Surgery to correct heart valve problems by either replacing the affected valve with a new valve or repairing the existing valve

About heart valve surgery

Heart valves are non-return, one-way valves within the heart designed so that the blood flows one way through the system. They can fail by narrowing (obstructing forward flow) or by tearing (resulting in a leak of blood backwards).

Need to know

  • What happens during heart valve surgery? icon plus

    Surgeons prefer to repair valves rather than replace them but many valves cannot be repaired. If this is the case then the surgeon will discuss the options for valve replacement (mechanical and tissue valves).

    The most common approach is to divide the breastbone but sometimes smaller or keyhole incisions are possible. The procedure will be performed under general anaesthetic.
  • How to prepare for surgery icon plus

    You will be seen by your consultant who will discuss the reasons for recommending heart valve surgery. You will be told of the risks of the operation and the risks of not having surgery. All aspects of the procedure will be discussed including side effects.

    As you're having a general anaesthetic, you'll be asked to stop eating and drinking for six hours beforehand.
  • After surgery icon plus

    Immediately following surgery you will likely spend a day or more in intensive care. After your time in intensive care, you will be moved to the cardiac ward. You will continue to have your blood pressure and heart rate monitored until discharge.

    If you have tissue valve replacement, you may need to take an anticoagulant medicine for two to three months. This is to prevent blood clotting on the new valve and the sutures.

    For mechanical valve replacement, however, this will be for the rest of your life. You'll need help at home after surgery, so you should arrange for someone to stay with you for a couple of weeks following the procedure.

    You'll also need to arrange for someone help you get home from the hospital. If you are taking anticoagulants you will need to have regular blood tests locally until you are stabilised on the tablet. You will be seen by your consultant about six weeks after the operation.

Our cardiac surgeons

We're proud to work with leading heart surgeons who are experienced in different types of valve surgery, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our heart surgery locations in London

From complex cardiothoracic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional cardiac care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Private heart valve surgery in Birmingham

Request a cardiac appointment

If heart symptoms are affecting your quality of life, we’re here to help. Our heart team is available to book an appointment with a cardiac specialist.

Call us today

020 7616 4988
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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