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Aortic Valve Repair

Aortic valve repair is a surgical procedure aimed at treating aortic valve disease by restoring the functionality of the patient's own valve. Unlike aortic valve replacement, which involves replacing the damaged valve with a prosthetic valve, aortic valve repair seeks to repair and preserve the patient's native valve. In this article, we will explore the concept of aortic valve repair, its significance, and delve into the procedure involved in this intricate cardiac surgery.

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About Aortic Valve Repair

Aortic valve repair is a surgical technique performed to correct structural abnormalities or dysfunctions of the aortic valve, which is responsible for regulating blood flow from the heart's left ventricle to the aorta. The procedure aims to restore the valve's normal function, prevent further deterioration, and avoid the need for a valve replacement.

Procedure of Aortic Valve Repair

  1. Anesthesia and Incision: Aortic valve repair is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the chest, usually through a median sternotomy, to access the heart and aorta.

  2. Examination and Assessment: The surgeon carefully examines the aortic valve to determine the extent of the damage or dysfunction. Diagnostic tools such as transesophageal echocardiography may be used to assess the valve's structure and function.

  3. Repair Techniques: Several techniques can be employed to repair the aortic valve, depending on the specific issue present:
    a. Valve Reshaping: In cases of valve prolapse or regurgitation, the surgeon may reshape the valve leaflets to ensure proper coaptation (closure) and prevent leakage.
    b. Annuloplasty: If the valve annulus (the ring-like structure that supports the valve) is dilated or distorted, annuloplasty may be performed. This involves reinforcing and reshaping the annulus using sutures or an annuloplasty ring.
    c. Leaflet Repair or Reconstruction: Damaged or torn valve leaflets can be repaired or reconstructed to restore their normal structure and function. This may involve removing excess tissue, reinforcing weak areas, or using tissue patches.

  4. Testing and Adjustment: After the repair is completed, the surgeon tests the valve's function to ensure its effectiveness. This may involve injecting a dye or saline solution to assess the valve's closure and absence of leakage.

Closure and Recovery: Once the repair is deemed successful, the surgeon closes the incisions using sutures or staples. The patient is then transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) for postoperative care, monitoring, and recovery.

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