What is Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery?
Heart Valve Conditions
Your heart has four different valves. These valves open to let blood pass and then close to keep blood from flowing in the wrong direction. Heart valve disease occurs when something is wrong with one of these valves.
Some people are born with heart valve disease, while others develop it later in life. Heart valves can malfunction in two ways:
- The valve opening may be too small, so not enough blood can pass through. This is called "stenosis."
- The valve may not close completely, allowing blood to leak back through, a condition called "regurgitation."
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
It’s possible to have severe heart valve disease without any symptoms. Other patients may have symptoms even though their disease is not serious. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Weakness during regular activities
- Dizziness or fainting
- Discomfort in the chest
- Palpitations or feeling that your heart has missed a beat
- Swelling in ankles, feet or stomach
- Sudden and unexplained weight gain
UR Medicine's Approach
Treating heart valve disease takes a complete understanding of the condition—and all the treatment options—to make the right decisions about each patient’s care. That’s why the UR Medicine Advanced Heart Valve Center is focused solely on the latest treatment options for heart valve problems.
If heart valve disease is suspected, a doctor will first listen to your heart for a "murmur" that might suggest a valve is not working correctly.
If this is the case, your doctor will recommend imaging tests to see if you have heart valve disease. The most commonly performed test to assess valve function is the cardiac ultrasound.
Treatments for heart valve disease depend on the severity of the disease. Mild heart valve disease may only need to be monitored by your doctor periodically. Moderate heart valve disease can often be treated with medication. But severe heart valve disease frequently requires surgery.
UR Medicine works continually to develop minimally invasive techniques for many types of heart valve surgery. In each procedure, every effort is made to limit trauma to the patient. In minimally invasive procedures, one or more small incisions are made between the ribs, giving easy access and visibility to all internal areas. Compared to open-chest surgery, minimally invasive techniques result in:
- Less pain
- Quicker recovery
- Improved quality of life and heart function
- Easier mobility and walking
- Lower risk of complications
- A shorter hospital stay and quicker return home
- Faster return to "normal life" (often in two weeks)
- Minimal assistance once home
- Earlier, more consistent cardiac rehabilitation program
- Less scarring
UR Medicine’s Cardiac Care team is extensively skilled at minimally invasive techniques for patients who need:
- Multi-Vessel Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
- Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement (MVR)
- MVR/Tricuspid Repair
- Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)
- Septal ablation
What Sets Us Apart?
We were the first Heart Valve program in the region. UR Medicine has a rich history of leadership in heart care and the largest team of cardiologists providing comprehensive care in Rochester and throughout the Finger Lakes region.
UR Medicine is a referral center for the most complex heart surgeries, which means other hospitals in the Rochester area send their most challenging cases to us. These other hospitals trust us because UR Medicine Cardiac Care leads the region in the number and scope of specialized services.
Our programs for heart failure, heart transplant, and cardio-oncology are unique in our area. These and other specialty programs ensure that you get the very latest treatments for a wide range of conditions.
We are the only academic medical center in the area, so we are involved in studies of the latest treatments. So, our patients’ care is informed by the very latest findings.
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