The rate of success of heart valve surgery is high and increasing. The operation provides symptom relief and prolongs life. The death rate varies depending on the heart valve and averages 2% to 5%. Approximately 2 out of 3 patients who received an artificial mitral valve are still alive 9 years after the surgery. Life-long anticoagulant therapy is necessary for patients with artificial heart valves. The clicking of the mechanical heart valve may be heard in the chest and is normal.
The first 2 or 3 days following the operation are spent in an intensive care unit where heart functions can be monitored constantly. The average hospital stay is 1 - 2 weeks. A few weeks to several months should be allowed for complete recovery, depending on health before surgery.
Updated by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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