April 22, 2019
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Mark Anderson, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiac Surgery.
Mick Jagger recently had a heart valve replacement procedure, highlighting advances in cardiovascular therapy.
The Rolling Stones frontman, 75, had to cancel upcoming tour dates to undergo the procedure. He did not divulge many details of his condition, but reported that he was doing well after and is expected to make a full recovery.
Replacing a Heart Valve
Heart valve replacement targets valves between the chambers of the heart. One condition that warrants heart valve replacement includes having a narrowed valve (stenosis) that is caused by aging. This is a calcification of the valve, which causes the valve to open less freely—and therefore blood flow is not normal. Another condition known as a leaky valve (regurgitation) causes blood to flow in the wrong direction. Valves that are diseased or damaged can be repaired or replaced, and what’s done depends on their condition and the severity of the damage.
“Aortic stenosis and the procedure to correct it are common as people age,” says Mark Anderson, M.D., vice-chair of Cardiac Surgical Services and Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Valve damage tends to make the heart work harder, and the surgery alleviates the pressure on the heart and eliminates the symptoms associated with the condition.”
Aortic valve replacement is the most common type of heart valve replacement surgery. About one in eight people over the age of 75 have moderate to severe aortic stenosis, Dr. Anderson adds. Problems with the mitral valve are also common, the American Heart Association Reports.
Uncomplicating Heart Care
Heart valve replacement traditionally involved open heart surgery, stopping the heart for some time and using bypass to keep blood pumping throughout the body so the valve can be replaced.
In recent years, doctors have developed less invasive techniques including minimal incision surgical procedures and TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), which can reduce recovery time and hospital stay duration.
For a TAVR procedure, fluoroscopy (a moving X-ray) is used as the surgeon guides a tiny, hollow tube called a catheter, through a small puncture in the upper leg and into the heart. The new valve is guided into position and expanded, creating a new fully functional valve. Patients are awake during the procedure and are given medicine to relax them.
“There are many advancements in heart valve surgery today, which means some patients can avoid open-heart surgery and recover much more quickly than in the past,” Dr. Anderson adds. “Whether it is minimal incision surgery or a catheter-based procedure, the goal is to have patients recover more quickly and reduce the incidence of complications.”
Are you a candidate for heart valve replacement? Patients who need heart valve replacement often report symptoms including chest pain, breathing difficulty, palpitations, edema in the feet, ankles or abdomen, rapid weight gain and dizziness. Talk to your cardiologist if you have any of these symptoms. He or she can discuss treatment options and let you know if you can undergo a minimally invasive procedure.
To learn more about cardiovascular services at Hackensack Meridian Health, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/Cardiovascular.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
American Heart Association