Is the heart valve repairable?

Heart valve operations - which valve for whom and how?

Signs of a defective heart valve

Warning signals for a defective heart valve are for example

  • a decreasing performance in everyday life
  • Difficulty breathing during exercise
  • newly appeared cardiac arrhythmias
  • a feeling of pressure in the chest

With an ultrasound examination, a cardiologist can assess whether a possibly defective heart valve needs to be observed further or whether a minimally invasive heart valve operation is necessary soon.

Older patients are also increasingly making the decision to have an operation on their defective heart valve. In the past twenty years, minimally invasive heart valve operations in those over 80 have increased by more than 60 percent.

Replace defective heart valve biologically or mechanically

The best option is to surgically repair a broken heart valve. A repaired valve often lasts a lifetime. If this is not possible, an artificial valve must be inserted. There are two here Flap types:

  • mechanical valve prostheses made of carbon
  • biological valve prostheses.

The significant differences for the patient are:

Mechanical flap:

  • permanently durable
  • only one operation necessary
  • Disadvantage: the patient has to take blood-thinning agents such as Marcumar for life

Biological valve:

  • There is no need to take any medication.
  • Disadvantage: The heart valve has to be replaced after an average of 15 years.

The trend is clearly towards the biological valve. The reason for this are the complications of taking the blood-thinning medication. If an elderly patient with a defective heart valve is unable to take their pills regularly because of dementia, it can be dangerous. There are also reasons against taking Marcumar in younger people with defective heart valves, for example if a patient wants to become pregnant.

Biological heart valves are increasingly being built in types without a rigid framework - the heart recovers faster and the valves last longer. The MEDICLIN Heart Center Lahr / Baden is a leader in the installation of such scaffold-free, biological heart valves.