What is a Stiff Heart Valve - How life-threatening is It

Out heart performs a rhythmic activity of pumping the blood where oxygenated blood is pumped to the body and the deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Sometimes, due to various reasons, this rhythm can be hindered thus causing problems in the smooth functioning of the heart. A stiff heart valve or heart stenosis is such a condition. 

In a stiff heart valve, the valve tissues start to stiffen due to the calcium deposition, thus making it difficult for the heart to pump the blood. This condition blocks the blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body, resulting in decreased oxygen and nutrient in the body. A stiff heart valve can increase with time and age and cause chronic heart failure. The condition can lead to some serious consequences like thickening of the blood and cardiac arrest.

A stiff heart valve is most commonly found in people with diabetes, high cholesterol or other heart-related diseases. It is also common in people who are regular smokers and have a family history of heart diseases. These people are asked to keep extra care on their diet and lifestyle so as to prevent future problems.

When a stiff heart is diagnosed, the doctors usually ask the patient to go through an aortic stenosis balloon valvuloplasty surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a catheter (a narrow tube) through a blood vessel in your groin or through a vein in your leg. This tube is guided to the stiff aortic valve with a deflated balloon attached to it. When the tip of the catheter is settled at the valve, the surgeon inflates the balloon a few times until he or she is satisfied by the opened valve. After this, the catheter is removed and the incision is sealed.

Though aortic stenosis balloon valvuloplasty is less invasive than the traditional open heart surgery, it is not free from risks and complications. Like any other heart surgery, it has the risk of bleeding, infection and blood clots. The doctor and his/her team keeps a close eye on the patient and continuously monitors his or her vitals after the surgery, so as to make sure that the patient is healthy to leave the hospital.

At home, the patient and his or her family is given a proper care plan to follow. The patient’s family has to make a few changes in their lifestyle so as to help the patient easily recover from the surgery.

Tags: Heart valve therapy, heart diseases, heart stenosis, pen heart surgery, aortic stenosis balloon valvuloplasty,