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Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

The surgeon makes an incision in the chest

Chest incision for aortic valve replacement surgery
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Aortic valve replacement surgery may be done as an open-heart surgery or as a less invasive surgery (where the surgeon makes smaller incisions and does not open the chest). This slideshow shows the surgery as an open-heart surgery.

To replace the damaged aortic valve, the surgeon first makes an incision in the chest and cuts through the breastbone (sternum).

The chest is opened to expose the heart

The heart exposed for aortic valve replacement
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Then, the surgeon opens the chest with a retractor to expose the heart. The surgeon opens the lining that protects the heart (pericardium).

The damaged aortic valve is removed

Removing the damaged aortic valve
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Next, the surgeon removes the damaged aortic valve.

The artificial valve is sewn in place

Artificial aortic valve sewn in place
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Finally, the surgeon inserts the artificial valve into the aorta. The artificial valve (also called a prosthetic valve) may be either mechanical or made of human or animal (pig) tissue. The surgeon sews the valve to the annulus, which is a ring of tissue that connects to the leaflets of the aortic valve.

By Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Last Revised November 11, 2013

Last Revised: November 11, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery

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