We all are aware of the importance of heart and its normal functioning for our existence. The human heart is responsible for the continuous supply of oxygen-rich blood to various different organs of our body but it is not the heart alone that function but the various blood channels associated with it as well. The human heart has four chambers which are divided by four valves. These are the aortic valve, the pulmonary valve, the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve. The aortic valve lies between the left ventricle and left aorta. And regulates the flow of blood from the former to the later. It also prevents the backward flow of blood by ensuring that the blood moves in one direction only. The normal functioning of the aortic valve is very important for the proper functioning of our heart and if the aortic valve fails to function properly it can lead to serious cardiovascular issues. One of the most common types of problems that can affect the aortic valve is aortic valve stenosis which is caused by the accumulation of unwanted impurities known as plaque, on the walls of the valve.

Plaque is essentially made up of unwanted cholesterol, fat and salt particles that can build up in our body owing majorly to unhealthy lifestyle practices that lead to obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes which are the all major risk factors that can increase your vulnerability to develop aortic stenosis. The problem is also very common in elderly people as their valves tend to lose their elasticity and hence are not able to open and close the flap properly. Aortic valve stenosis can affect people of any age group what is very common in people above 45 years of age. Plaque formation can be highly dangerous as it can severely damage the aortic valve and prevent the blood from flowing freely. If not treated on time the patient's condition can deteriorate and it an even lead to increases risks of heart attack, stroke and even death. Hence it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately and get all the tests and examinations done to determine the adversity of your problem and the best possible way to treat it.

Aortic stenosis and other problems related to the aortic valve can be treated by two different surgical procedures i.e. the traditional open heart surgery or transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

The traditional open heart surgery procedure is a very old yet effective method of replacing a damaged valve with an artificially created graph by making a huge incision on the patient's chest. The surgery is quite lengthy and complicated but has very impressive results. Until the recent past, it was the only surgical methods to treat aortic valve stenosis. The large incision makes it possible for the doctors to directly operate upon the affected valve giving higher accuracy. Also, the procedure is very beneficial but it has a number of risks associated with it. The surgery involved a lot of blood loss due to which a large number of patients are not eligible to undergo the procedure. These mostly include patients suffering from anaemia, diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, there are a very high risk of infection as in season is very deep and the wound is quite large. The patient has to make sure that the wound is covered properly such that there is no abscess or ps at the site of the incision. Also, the recovery period following the surgery quite lengthy and the patient has to take proper precautions and measures or else it can lead to serious consequences. Other risks associated with the surgery include bleeding, clot formation, valve dysfunction in replacement valves and arrhythmia. The patient may even experience a stroke. Death is quite rare but possible if the surgery is not carried out carefully.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement , on the other hand, is a minimally invasive procedure which means that it involves very small incisions. The surgeries carried out with the help of a catheter fixed with a balloon on one of its end. The artificially created graft is placed inside this catheter. The catheter is introduced inside the patient's body via very small incisions made on the side of the chest or through the groin and carefully directed towards the affected valve with the help of the live images generated by a microscope camera, passed inside the patient's body, on a television screen. This helps to perform the surgery with higher efficiency and accuracy. Once the catheter is in the right position, the balloon is inflated to push the walls of the affected valve to make way for the new valve. Once the valve has been placed correctly, the catheter is removed through the same incision. Since the procedure is minimally invasive it guarantees minimal complications and a shorter recovery period. The surgery is best suited for a patient suffering from diabetes, anaemia and high blood pressure as there is very less blood loss. There are certain risks associated with TAVR as well, which include infections, clotting, arrhythmia and the procedure may be needed to be repeated after some years as it does not completely eliminate the problem.

Minimally invasive procedures like transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery have proved to be a turning point in the medical history of our country. Although there are certain risks associated with the surgery, however, many of these can be eliminated if you consult a well-qualified specialist. It is very important to note that the success rate of the surgery not only depends upon the efficiency of the doctor but also upon the efforts of the patients to opt for a Healthy Lifestyle. The doctors conduct all the screening and tests beforehand to ensure that you are eligible to undergo the procedure and also to prepare for any complication that may possibly arise during the surgery. The benefits of aortic valve replacement surgery usually outnumber such complications. The complications not only arise during the surgery but may also rise after it and hence it is important to remain in constant touch with your doctor for frequent checkups.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Amit Kumar Chaurasia is a best rated cardiologist in delhi & interventional cardiologist in India. Aortic valve replacement surgery is the medical procedure of replacing a damaged aortic valve with an artificially created substitute that performs the same functions as the original valve.