Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Congenital birth defects involving a bicuspid aortic valve can develop stenosis. These patients may become symptomatic in mid-teen years through age 65. Patients with a history rheumatic fever have a disposition for aortic stenosis, but may live symptom...
free for more then four decades. Calcification of the aortic valve tends to effect an older population with 30% of patients over age 85 having stenosis at autopsy.
Patients with aortic stenosis who have angina, dyspnea, or fainting are candidates for aortic valve replacement. Asymptomatic patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting should be treated with aortic valve replacement, but otherwise are not candidates for preventive aortic valve replacement.
Patients with a history of rheumatic fever or syphilitic aortitis (inflammation of the aorta) face the possibility of developing aortic insufficiency. Successful treatment has decreased this causative relationship. Primary causes of aortic disease commonly include bacterial endocarditis, trauma, aortic dissection, and congenital diseases.
Patients showing acute symptoms, including pulmonary edema, heart rhythm problems, or circulatory collapse, are candidates for aortic valve replacement. Chronic pathologies are recommended for surgery when patients appear symptomatic, demonstrating angina and dyspnea. Asymptomatic patients must be monitored for heart dysfunction. Left ventricular dimensions greater then 2 in (50 mm) at diastole or 3 in (70 mm) at systole are indications for replacement when aortic insufficiency is diagnosed.
Tiny electric currents flow through the heart muscle and cause them to contract, squeezing blood throughout the body. This animation shows the electrical system of the heart and how it is driven by a small patch of tissue called the cardiac pacemaker or sinoatrial node.
Aortic valve replacement is a cardiac surgery procedure in which a patient's aortic valve is replaced by a different valve. The aortic valve can be affected by a range of diseases; the valve can either become leaky (aortic insufficiency / regurgitation) or partially blocked (aortic stenosis). Aortic valve replacement currently requires open heart surgery.
In 2006, 2,192 heart transplantations were performed in the United States. There are 257 transplant hospitals in the United States, 135 of which perform heart transplantations. (http://www.unos.org/)
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