Benefits and Risks Aortic and Mitral Valve Replacement

Understand the Benefits and Risks

Heart valve replacement surgery is generally considered effective, and you should feel some benefits of your new prosthetic heart valve almost immediately. However, surgery is not without risks, and complications are possible. You need to know about them so you can alert your doctor if you notice symptoms.

Benefits of Surgical Heart Valve Replacement

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 and condition. The effects of your old, damaged valve on your body will gradually fade as your new prosthetic heart valve begins to help your heart function more efficiently.

Risks of Surgical Heart Valve Replacement

Surgical aortic and mitral valve replacement risks can include the following:

  • Death
  • Blood clots that develop in the heart or on the replacement valve. These clots may break loose and travel through the bloodstream (thromboembolism). This problem may cause a stroke or heart attack.
  • Obstruction of blood circulation to the heart resulting in damage to the heart tissue (myocardial infarction)
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Abnormal heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia and dysrhythmia)
  • Heart failure
  • Damage to red blood cells (hemolysis) that can result in anemia
  • Blood leaking around the outside of the prosthetic valve (paravalvular leak) or any problem with the valve that causes leaking of blood after the valve has closed (transvalvular leak)
  • Any problem with the prosthetic valve that causes narrowing of the valve opening (stenosis)
  • Failure of the valve to open and close properly
  • Inflammation of the lining of the heart (endocarditis)

The potential risks are shown in the order of severity, from most severe to least severe. This list does not include all risks. For more information regarding valve replacement surgery, talk to your doctor.