Pulmonary Valve Insufficiency
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy or rapid breathing, especially during exercise
In cases of severe pulmonary insufficiency, surgical replacement of the valve is necessary. The operation is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during surgery.
First, the surgeon makes a vertical incision in the front of the chest, opens the breastbone, and exposes the heart. Blood from the heart is redirected to a bypass machine. The bypass machine does the job of the heart and lungs during the operation.
The surgeon then replaces the pulmonary valve with a biological valve or a homograft (from a human donor). He also may use a tissue graft from an animal donor to reconstruct the right ventricle's outflow tract.
Patients with arrhythmia may also undergo a MAZE procedure or ventricular cryoablation at the same time as the valve replacement. These procedures correct the electrical imbalance that causes the arrhythmia.
After the valve is replaced, and the heart closed, the surgeon shuts down the heart-lung bypass machine, and the heart starts beating again. The surgeon then closes the breastbone and chest incision, and applies bandages to the incision site.