When heart valves aren't pumping blood efficiently, they may need to be repaired or replaced through surgery.
Duke's surgical program is known for use of minimally invasive (mini-incision) approaches to valve repair and replacement.
If the valve tissue is of sufficient quality, surgeons can repair the valve. When possible, this is preferred over full valve replacement.
At Duke, physicians use several different techniques to repair heart valves, depending on the patient's specific valve disorder. Some heart valve operations repair valve flaps that don't close properly, while others fix the fibrous tissue at the base of the heart valve.
Duke also offers hybrid procedures that unite percutaneous valve surgery and minimally invasive stent placement for patients with both valve and coronary disease.
Replacement is a second option for patients with valve tissue that is too severely damaged for repair.
Duke offers two valve replacement options: mechanical valves and tissue valves.
Mechanical valves last longer than tissue valves and are generally recommended for younger patients. They require patients to take warfarin (Coumadin), a special blood thinner that requires monitoring of its level in the blood.
Be sure to ask your doctor whether it will be safe for you to use warfarin.
Tissue valves don't require patients to use warfarin, but they might be more subject to wear and tear.
Tissue valve durability has improved in recent years, but they don't generally last as long as mechanical valves and may eventually need to be replaced again.
At Duke, patients can have access to the latest types of valve replacements if they choose to participate in clinical trials. Find a clinical trial at Duke.
Duke offers minimally invasive approaches to heart valve surgery -- an option not available at all hospitals. Minimally invasive procedures cut down on blood loss, trauma, and length of hospital stay.
During surgery, Duke physicians use state-of-the-art ultrasound to assess heart and valve function. This information allows them to make precise adjustments during the surgery to help ensure its success.
We offer a variety of approaches to minimally invasive valve surgery, including port-access valve surgery, robotic valve surgery, and video-assisted surgery. Our doctors will help determine which approach is best to repair or replace your valve.
In minimally invasive port-access valve surgery, surgeons access the valve through a small incision beneath the breast, rather than a large incision through the breastbone. Duke performs a high number of these procedures.
Video-assisted minimally invasive approaches can also be applied to patients with pericardial disease or certain cardiac arrhythmias.
Surgical treatment for cardiac arrhythmias (Maze procedures) is also available. This surgery is often done in conjunction with valve surgery.
Make an appointment with a Duke heart specialist near you: 888-ASK-DUKE (888-275-3853)
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