Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Heart Valve Replacement Surgery - Topic Overview

Valve replacement surgery is typically performed as an open-heart procedure in the operating room of a hospital. Less commonly, it may be done as a minimally invasive surgery or procedure.

Although valve surgery is an intricate procedure, it is also common. In the majority of cases, valve replacement surgery is a straightforward procedure with a high rate of success and a low risk of complications. A cardiac surgeon, who specializes in heart surgery and has had years of training, will do the surgery. A team of nurses, an anesthesiologist, and possibly a surgical resident will assist the surgeon.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Resveratrol Supplements

Resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols. These compounds are thought to have antioxidant properties, protecting the body against the kind of damage linked to increased risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, but other sources include peanuts and berries. Because resveratrol is thought to have so many health benefits, it's not surprising that a number of manufacturers have tried to capitalize by selling...

Read the Resveratrol Supplements article > >

Prepare for surgery

Preparing for valve replacement surgery is similar to preparing for other major surgeries. You will be asked to not eat before surgery to prevent the risk of vomiting while you are under anesthesia. Your doctor may also have you stop taking certain medicines temporarily.

When you are in the operating room, a nurse will attach a number of monitoring devices, such as an EKG, to monitor the function of your heart and other vital signs during surgery. The nurse also will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm to deliver fluids and any necessary medicine. Finally, the nurse will place sterile drapes over your body, shave your chest if needed, and sterilize the area.

To help you breathe during surgery, you will be placed on a respirator, which involves placing a tube down your throat and into your lungs. This tube may be uncomfortable, but you will not be awake for most of the time that the tube is in your throat.

An anesthesiologist will place you under general anesthesia so that you do not see or feel anything during surgery. After you are unconscious, a transesophageal echocardiogram, which is a type of ultrasound device, will be inserted into your esophagus to display images of your heart during surgery.

Open the chest

The surgeon will use a marker to outline the incision on your chest before making it. To gain access to the heart, the surgeon will typically cut straight down the middle of your chest, from the top of your rib cage to just above your belly button. The incision goes through your sternum, or breastbone.

1 | 2 | 3
1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Heart Valve Replacement Surgery Topics

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW