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Is there an alternative to aortic valve replacement surgery?

Q: My mother has been advised to go for a aortic valve replacement. As per doctors the value is thick and narrow. Due to that there is extra pressure on one portion of the heart. She was not having any problem as such, except breathless, sometimes after physical work. We are ready for the operation but wanted to confirm if there is a way other than operation? Can this problem be cured through medication? What are the complications to look out for after the operation?

A:The Aortic valve is a door like structure that is situated between the left pumping heart chamber and its main outlet, the aorta that supplies blood to the whole body though its branches. In Aortic valve stenosis the valve is narrowed (like keeping a tap half closed). As the problem is mechanical it does not respond to medicines. Surgery is advised when there are symptoms. The results of surgery however are excellent as the valve is replaced by an artificial valve. There are chances of blood clotting on the metal valve. To prevent this people with replacement need to take blood thinners and monitor its dose by a simple monthly test. Rarely there is a chance of infection of the valve. Despite these problems, with careful attention to doctors advice, the life span of people with aortic valve replacement is almost same as people without this disease.

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