Aortic Valve Regurgitation: Deciding About Surgery - Topic Overview
What are the risks?
The severity of regurgitation and the likelihood it will get worse need to be balanced against the risks involved with having a valve replacement surgery.
Valve replacement surgery has a high rate of success and a low risk of causing other problems if you are otherwise healthy. But the surgery is an open-heart surgery.
Although most people have successful outcomes, there is a risk of death and serious problems during surgery. About 5% or less of people having valve surgery die.1
Even if valve replacement surgery is a success, you may have problems after surgery, such as:
An increased risk of blood clots. These can break off and cause a stroke or heart attack. If you have a mechanical valve, this risk is higher, so you will take an anticoagulant such as warfarin (Coumadin).
A need for another replacement valve. This will depend on the type of valve you get and how long you live after you have the surgery.
A valve that fails. There is a small chance that the valve won't work. Your doctor will need to check from time to time to make sure that your valve is working.
Can I have surgery to repair my valve?
For most people, surgery to repair the aortic valve is not an option. This is because of the very high blood pressure in the left ventricle, which pumps blood to the rest of the body. The high blood pressure makes the repaired valve start leaking again.