Loading

Benefits and Risks – Heart Valve Replacement

Heart valve replacement surgery is generally considered safe, and you should feel some benefits of your new heart valve almost immediately. However, risks and complications are possible. You need to know about them so you can alert your doctor if you notice symptoms.

Benefits

Over time, you should be able to engage in your normal activities again. Each patient recovers at his or her own pace. Recovery depends on your overall strength. The effects of your old, damaged valve on your body will gradually fade as your new heart valve begins to help your heart function more efficiently.

Risks

Risks include:

  • As with any surgery, the risk for blood clot formation can show up a few days after surgery. If the clots dislodge, they can travel to the lungs where they cause shortness of breath, chest pain, and even death. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
  • For a variety of reasons, your new heart valve may not function as needed. This is very rare but may require further surgery to treat.
  • Abnormal heartbeats, called arrhythmias, can happen after surgery. Often, these can be controlled with medication and are usually temporary.

 

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

Section Navigation