Last updated:10-15-2008
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Definition and cause

Inside the heart is a folding system which prevents the blood from running back in the wrong direction when the heart pumps. There are a total of four valves of the heart (see cardiac structure). Constrictions or leaks of the flaps can cause severe pump failure, and it may be necessary to replace the damaged heart valve with a new one.

There are different types of artificial heart valves. Some are made of inorganic materials (mechanical heart valves) And others are organic flaps from humans or pigs (biological heart valves).

The mechanical valveshas the advantage that they last longer, in turn, is the patient have to take blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clot formation around the flaps.

When the biological valvesis not the same risk of blood clot formation, but the sustainability of the flaps are not nearly as good as the mechanical. A re-operation with genudskiftning of the new flap will therefore be required earlier than with a mechanical fold. It is therefore a weighting of the physician, whether it would be preferable to one or another kind of flap. Biological valves keep around. 8-10 years, and is used mostly for the elderly and in patients where blood thinners may be difficult to manage (eg. In

In Denmark carried around. 900 cardiac operations annually.

During Surgery

The operation takes about. 2-4 hours, and it is in full anesthetic. Access to the heart is by opening the chest by cutting the sternum.
The patient subsequently switched to a heart-lung machine during the operation carries breathing and blood supply to the body.
The sick flip identified and removed, after which the artificial sewn into place with wire, which is slowly absorbed by the body.

After Operation

Immediately after the operation will be carefully observed in an intensive care unit. The heart will always be monitored, inter alia, with constant ECG monitoring.
When one's condition is stable, and I'm in love as planned, transferred again to the heart department, which stands for the final examinations, the boot of medicine and hospital.

Select and complications

The vast majority are experiencing a straightforward process in connection with the operation. They can subsequently lead a normal life again, and long-term survival are good at implantation of mechanical valves, which are by far the most common.

Since the interference is huge and demanding, it is associated with a mortality rate of approximately. 5%. It must be stressed that the forecast is worse for the very elderly and those with other severe diseases of the heart, lung, kidneys and liver.

After the operation, complications are relatively rare, but seen, however. This is largely about:

  • Bleeding, requiring blood transfusion, in connection with blood thinners.

  • Blood clots originating from the new flap.

  • Leakage at the edge of the fold, where it is sewn at, leading to poor pumping function.

  • Inflammation around a heart valve.

  • Soft and rigid attachment of biological pat, causing worse function, why re-operation must be considered.


Flap-operated patients followed regularly by a cardiologist.





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