Valvular Heart Surgery

Why would you need valvular heart surgery, especially if you are asymptomatic? Your heart has four valves — the mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, and aortic valve — to regulate the flow of blood. You don’t want unoxygenated, or to be more precise, deoxygenated blood mixing with oxygenated blood. When the mitral valve and the aortic valve fail to function properly, it causes blood to flow backward; better known as mitral valve regurgitation and aortic valve regurgitation. In some cases, this regurgitation is caused by coronary heart disease (read blocked arteries) leading to myocardial ischemia. Other causes include rheumatic heart disease and prolapse of the mitral valve and/or aortic valve. The blood flow between the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and lower chambers (ventricles) is controlled by the mitral valve and the tricuspid valve. Blood flow to the lungs (to receive fresh oxygen, and discharge carbon dioxide) is controlled by the pulmonary valve; while blood flow to the entire body is controlled by the aortic valve. When the valves become too narrow and hardened to open fully, or are unable to close completely; your cardiologist will warn you of the potential danger of congestive heart failure, pooling of the blood in the heart, or pulmonary embolism. Though some people imagine this kind of ailment can be cured by drinking pomegranate juice, carrot juice, and their ilk; you would be wiser to heed your cardiologist, and opt for valvular heart surgery. This is an open heart procedure to repair, or replace, as the need may be, defective valve/s.