Heart patients with valve problems can actually avoid getting expensive and grueling open-heart surgery. There is another way to fix the issue.
Researchers have come up with ways to help heart patients with valve problems; patients no longer have to resort to open-heart surgery. Fox explains the types of valve issues being referred to, “Mitral valve regurgitation, which causes blood to flow backward into the lungs, affects about four million adults in the U.S. For many patients, the condition never causes serious harm. But for others, mitral regurgitation causes extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. In serious cases, patients' hearts have to pump twice as hard to move the same amount of the blood to the body, leading to heart failure.”
Experts have come up with less-invasive methods to implant medical devices to repair the valves. This eliminates the need for open-heart surgery. Many of these devices are already on the market and more are being developed.
Fox explains the current attitude towards performing open-heart surgery for patients who need valve repairment. “When the mitral valve is in need of repair or replacement, open-heart surgery is generally performed. About 50,000 such operations take place in the U.S. a year. But many patients are reluctant or too frail to undergo the surgery. Doctors are also hesitant about recommending the procedure in some older patients with heart disease because surgery hasn't been shown to prolong life. Permanent heart damage and more heart problems can result if the valve isn't repaired,” according to Fox. But now the new less-invasive methods, which implant medical devices, are a possible alternative for patients.