Valve Insufficiency or Regurgitation
Valve insufficiency or regurgitation happens more often in the mitral valve. When a valve leaks, the leaflets don’t close completely and some blood leaks backward rather than all of the blood flowing completely in one direction. Like stenosis, valve leakage most often happens because the valve simply wears out as we get older. Other circumstances such as a defective valve at birth, or rheumatic fever, can also cause a leak. In some cases, these valves can be repaired. In many cases, the valve must be replaced.
Symptoms of Valve Disease
You can have either valve stenosis or leakage and not know anything is wrong. However, if your condition becomes more severe you may begin to experience symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart murmur
What to Expect After Mitral Valve Surgery
After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room.. When you wake up, you will feel groggy and a little “out of it." You will be connected to some monitors and IV lines for medications and fluids. You may also have a special IV in your neck to measure heart function. You typically may have several other tubes and catheters that are not painful and will remain in place for one or two days after surgery to help your medical team monitor your condition.
After typically a day or so in the intensive care unit, you will be transferred to a hospital room for additional recovery in the hospital. You will assisted to begin walking in your room and in the hallways, typically within a day or so after surgery. You will be discharge to home or to a skilled nursing facility, depending on your level of support at home, within typically about five to seven days after surgery.
Valve repair, when it is possible to perform, is typically associated with fewer complications and prolonged survival compared to valve replacement. Repair also less commonly requires the use of blood thinner medication for prolonged periods of time after surgery.