Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a heart condition that causes you to have an irregular or fast heart rate. This increased heart rate can then lead to other complications like stroke or heart failure. Symptoms of AFib can be shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and weakness. AFib typically is not a life-threatening condition, but it can decrease your quality of life if left untreated. One way to treat this condition is to get a mechanical heart valve replacement surgery.
Mechanical Heart Valve
A mechanical valve is an artificial tool that includes a steel alloy ring with an outer cloth suture ring and two half-moon shaped leaflets hinged inside it. The valve replaces a damaged or malfunctioning mitral valve in your heart. This type of valve is very hard, does not wear out, and guarantees a virtually unlimited duration of the valve in ideal conditions.
Mechanical Heart Valve Replacement and Atrial Fibrillation
You may be suffering from atrial fibrillation if you have another heart problem that requires a surgery like mitral valve surgery, aortic valve surgery, or coronary artery bypass grafting. If the surgery that you require to treat another heart issue is mechanical heart valve replacement surgery, it is likely that your atrial fibrillation will also be treated during the surgery.
Disadvantages of Surgery
The main disadvantage of mechanical heart valve replacement surgery is that patients who received a mechanical valve have to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives to prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots. This is a necessary and important therapy because normal blood tends to form clots when it is in contact with an artificial surface. Blood clots can in fact jam the valve in an open or closed position causing stenosis, insufficiency or a combination of both. Some clots can come loose and cause a stroke or a heart attack by traveling from the prosthetic valve to the arteries that supply the heart (coronary arteries) or the brain (carotid arteries).
Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program
Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to helping you understand and treat your atrial fibrillation. If you have any questions about mechanical heart valve replacement surgery or atrial fibrillation, feel free to contact us at (330) 588-4676 or visit our contact page online.