Sat 19 August 2017
If you have aortic valve disease and require valve replacement, most surgeons will suggest that you need open heart surgery which involves cutting and spreading your breastbone. Whilst this is a good technique which has been used for many years, there are now better ways to perform this surgery in experienced hands using minimally invasive approaches. Studies are showing consistent benefits such as:
Reduced blood loss
Much less pain
Quicker discharge from hospital
Quicker wound healing (in some cases days rather than months)
Traditional Breastbone approach:
Full breastbone division takes 3 months to heal.
Right Anterior Thoracotomy approach:
Keyhole Aortic Valve Replacement using a small cut placed between the ribs on the right isde of the chest heals in 7 days rather than 3 months, and is far less painful than cutting the breastbone. This is now our favoured approach in selected patients.
Upper Ministernotomy approach:
A very good approach for certain patients who are not suitable for the above keyhole approach. Although the incision inolves a small bone break, you will still be more likely to recover quicker than following a full breastbone division.
Alternatives to surgery
Surgery remains unrivalled in terms of both the quality and durability of results obtained following aortic valve replacement and is always the preferred treatment for you if you have aortic valve disease. However, if you are too risky for this treatment then you may be suitable for another treatment called TAVI (Transfemoral Aortic Valve Implantation). This treatment involves inserting a new aortic valve into your heart over a wire placed into your groin.