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Heart valve surgery

HEART VALVE REPLACEMENT AND HEART VALVE REPAIR

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

About

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 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 commonest 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 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. You may be asked to sign a consent form after everything has been explained (otherwise it will be signed on admission). As you're having a general anaesthetic, you'll be asked to stop eating and drinking for six hours beforehand.
  • Afterwards 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.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

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

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    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • The Wellington Hospital

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments. 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

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    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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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