Frequently Asked Questions

The information in the FAQs are intended to create awareness among the public. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read here. Please consult your cardiologist for further details.

These FAQs are not be kept as an evidence in the court of law against the hospital or anybodyfor any legal proceedings.

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FAQs on Angiography/Angioplasty/Stents

Q1. What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease takes place when an upsurge of plaque i.e. fatty deposits, cholesterol and calcium get stuck to the walls of the arteries, causing narrowing and blockages, therefore reducing the flow of blood to the heart. Such kind of blockages often result in pain known as angina. If the disease goes untreated, clots may form, resulting in a heart attack.

Q2. What are the risk factors for coronary artery disease?

Following are risk factors for coronary artery disease:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • History of heart disease in family
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diet containing a large amount of saturated fats
  • High cholesterol
  • Inactivity

Q3. What is Coronary angiography, Angioplasty and a Stent?

Coronary angiography is a diagnostic process that is performed for detecting the blockages in the blood vessels of the heart. A radio-opaque dye is injected in the coronary arteries with the help of a thin tube and images are taken under cath-lab. It shows the narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels if there is blockage.

Coronary Angioplasty is a medical procedure used to restore the blood flow through a blocked artery. In this non-surgical procedure, a thin tube with a balloon is inserted to expand the site of blockage in the coronary artery. It is also referred to as PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty).

A stent is a stretchy wire mesh tube that is inserted into the expanded artery for keeping it open and allowing the flow of blood.

Stents are of two types:

  • Plain metal variety.
  • The drug-release type that disperses the drug while in place for assisting in keeping the artery dilated.

Q4. Why are coronary angiogram and angioplasty/stents performed?

Coronary angiography is not only an all-encompassing process, but also the most conclusive tool for diagnosing the suspected heart disease and also find out the option for the best treatment. The expansion of the arteries that are blocked through angioplasty and also keeping the arteries open with stents brings improvement in the flow of blood to the heart, which reduces the risk of heart attack and irregular heart rhythms.

Q5. How long does the process take?

The time that is needed in this process varies, but angiogram generally takes around 30 to 45 minutes, with approximately four hours of recovery time after the procedure.

Angioplasty and an insertion of the stents might take about a half an hour's time up to many hours which depends on the nature and extent of the coronary disease.

Q6. What occurs after angiogram and angioplasty/stents?

 After angiogram, the patient is monitored while in the recovery area before given a discharge. If the process was of angioplasty/stents, one has to stay overnight, during which the patient is closely observed. In both the cases, the patient must have someone to accompany since one is not in a condition to drive.

The doctor discusses the preliminary results of the angiogram before the patient is discharged. There is discussion about any side effects that a patient might experience at home. Sometimes, the use of clot-preventing medicines are also prescribed after the process.

Q7. Is Angioplasty done only for the heart?

The procedure of angioplasty can be conducted for broadening blockage in several blood vessels of the body. If it is being done for coronary blood vessels, it is known as coronary angioplasty. Angioplasty can also be done for blocks in other blood vessels such as carotid artery.

Q8. What is a patient asked to do after the angioplasty?

A patient is asked to drink lots of water to help flush away the iodine contrast dye from the body system. On the site of insertion, a sandbag or pressure bandage is placed to prevent the bleeding and will be asked to take rest for next few hours.

Q9. When should a doctor be contacted?

One should contact a doctor if:

  • Insertion site bleeds
  • Excessive chest pain
  • Numbness in the arm & leg of the insertion side.
  • Swelling increases
  • Fever or signs of infection
  • Pallor or generalized weakness

 Q10. What are the risks involved in the process of angioplasty?

 Following are the risks involved in the procedure of angioplasty:

  • Bursting of the artery
  • Kidney problem due to the iodine contrast dye in X-rays
  • Restenosis or re-blockage of the blood vessels

Q11. Can a patient lead healthy normal life again after angioplasty?

There are excellent chances of leading a healthy life & go back to work. Most people are back to their earlier lifestyle within 3 days after angiography if they have not suffered for heart attack & if ejection fraction of heart is >50%.

All that needed is to make a few modifications in lifestyle in terms of Diet, Exercise etc which will help to become normal much faster and prevent the chances of Restenosis.

Q12. Can a patient get coronary artery disease again?

Angioplasty opens dangerous block but other portion of that artery & other arteries can also get deposition as patient grows older. So, no one can say whether one can get Coronary Artery Disease again or not.

BUT, one thing is for sure that if all the controllable risk factors like Exercise, Diet, Blood Pressure, and Diabetes etc. are well taken care of then the chances of recurrence are very less.

Q13. Can a patient smoke after angioplasty?

Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict.Imagine what will happen to already narrowed and damaged blood vessels. SO QUIT.

Q14. When can a patient go back to work?

 90% of the patients resume work within a week. What kind of work one should take depends on the severity of the damage and the job profile.

Getting busy and involved will result in quicker recovery. But the best person to advice when to start working is the doctor.

Q15. What kind of diet is to be followed?

  1. Avoid fried, fatty thing especially saturated trans-fat.
  2. Eat more vegetables & fruits
  3. Select whole grain and high fiber diet

Q16.What kind of exercise is to be followed?

 Avoid isometric exercise like weight lifting,dumbbell, bench press etc. Isotonic exercises like walking, swimming, cycling is good for heart patients.

Duration & intensity depends upon individual capacity. It should be symptom limited exercise in the first few months.

Q17. Can the stent change its position or slip from the place where it was deployed after it is implanted?

No. The stent is implanted into the artery firmly with a balloon at high pressures by a balloon. Moreover, after a few weeks, the stent gets covered by the lining of the artery and becomes a part of the artery so there is no chance of the stent moving from its place.

Q18. Does a stent rust in the body since is made of steel?

The material that is used to manufacture a stent is a special type of medical grade steel which is a rust proof material. This does not rust inside the body. These days stents are usually made of Cobalt Chromium & Platinum.

Q19. Can a stent get deformed by putting pressure on chest externally or will it pinch the heart or other organs around it?

 The heart is inside the chest cavity and no amount of pressure externally will reach the stent deployed inside the artery. The stent is placed inside the artery and as such gets covered by lining of the artery and hence can never pinch or prick any other part of body.

Q20. Can a patient go through an X-Ray or CT scan or MRI post stenting?

 X-Ray or CT scan can be done at any time, MRI can be done after one and half month of procedure (please consult your Doctor before MRI).

Q21. Will the presence of the metallic stent inside the artery cause the security or metal alarm go on during security checks etc. like on airport security checks?

 NO

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FAQs on Other Cardiology Topics

Q1. How does a human heart function?

A normal human heart beats 70 to 80 times in 1 minute which means approx.1, 00,800 times a day. The heart has 4 chambers- two upper chambers and two lower chambers known as Atria and Ventricles respectively. The right atrium of the heart gets de-oxygenated blood flow which in turn flows through the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery then into the lungs. The de-oxygenated blood gets purified in the lungs and flows back through the pulmonary veins to left atrium and ventricle, then to the rest of the body. The blood vessels which feed heart muscles are known as coronary arteries.

Q2. What is High Blood Pressure and what are its treatments?

The stiffness occurring in the very small arteries leads to High Blood Pressure. Low salt diet, stress management, regular exercise and weight control are the measures that can control High Blood Pressure. If Blood Pressure is not controlled by these measures, doctor may prescribe necessary medications.

Q3. What are the major causes of heart disease?

High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes and smoking are the major causes of the heart disease.

Q4. What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is a condition which occurs when the supply of blood and oxygen to a particular area of the heart muscle gets disrupted. This blockage is the leading cause of arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) that cause a fatal decline in the pumping function of the heart.

Q5. What are the Symptoms of Heart attack?

The most common symptoms that occur in the case of heart attack include chest pain, sudden perspiration, gabharaman, palpitations, breathlessness,pain in the left shoulder and neck region.

Q6. How long should a patient rest after a heart attack?

Rest is important after a heart attack, but it's just as important for one to participate in recreation and social events and to begin making physical activity a part of daily life. For any patient with heart attack, ordinary physical activity should be commenced after prior consultation with doctor. A good night's rest is especially important for heart attack patients. Heart patients should rest before they get too tired. The doctor will tell what's best for a specific situation, but most heart attack patients find they have plenty of energy for both work and leisure activities.

Q7.  Is chest pain normal after a heart attack?

Not everyone will have chest pain (angina pectoris), but if it happens, it should be a light pain or pressure in chest that quickly goes away. It will typically happen during or right after physical exertion, intense emotion or eating a heavy meal. If one is having any chest pain, then a doctor should be consulted. There are exercises and medication that can ease or prevent the pain. If angina gets worse over time or starts to occur after very little exercise,a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Q8.  When can a patient go back to work after a heart attack?

Most heart attack patients go back to work within two weeks to three months depending on the severity of the heart attack. The doctor will determine when a patient can go back and whether the current job is suitable for a person who has had a heart attack

Q9.  What types of physical exercises are recommended to promote heart health?

Regular physical activity like brisk walking for 30-40 minutes a day, strengthens and protects the heart from major cardiovascular diseases. While an intense exercise for 20-30 minutes is optional as it concentrates more on body muscle building. A person recovering from a heart attack is advised to rest for 2-3 weeks with minimal physical activity. However, mild cardio exercises and slow walking are very helpful to speed up the recovery process. But, it must be done as per Doctors advice.

Q10. How bad is alcohol for the heart?

It is strongly advisable to prevent alcohol consumption. While for those addicted, alcohol consumption must be limited to 60 ml of hard alcohol or 100 ml of wine in a day. Alcohol, if consumed in levels exceeding the threshold limit, it severely affects the heart health.

Q11. Can heart rebuild itself after quitting smoking?

Smoking is directly linked to heart attack and various other cardiovascular diseases. Even one cigarette can trigger a heart attack. Inhaling the poisonous contents of cigarette smoke results in plaque rupture giving rise to a heart attack. It is highly advisable to quit smoking right away. Upon quitting, the heart rebuilds itself as time escalates. But the rebuilding process takes many years leaving behind incurable scars. Quit it now!

Q12. Does positive family history of heart attack carry any significance?

The genes play a vital role in determining the non-modifiable risk factors for a heart disease. If a parent has suffered a heart attack before the age of 55, even the child has a higher risk of getting it later one.

Q13. Are women susceptible to heart attacks?

Men are genetically prone to heart attacks and suffer from heart diseases at a higher rate when compared to women. But that doesn’t rule out the chances of women contracting a heart disease. Women don’t suffer from specific symptoms and the chances of detecting a heart problem are very remorse. Hence, women must never neglect heart-related concerns

Q14. What is Cholesterol?

It is a type of fat substance produced in a human liver. There are two types of this fat- saturated and unsaturated. Butter, Ghee, red meat and coconut oil contain unsaturated fat which is harmful for the body.

Q15. What is a Stress Test?

  • A stress test is a common test that doctors use to diagnose coronary artery disease.
  • Patient will be made to walk on a treadmill while ECG, BP and heart rate will be continuously monitored.

Q16.  What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a medical condition wherein cholesterol along with calcium and blood clot gets deposited in the arteries and creates stiffness.

Q17. How is angina different from a heart attack?

Angina refers to the chest pain which occurs in the area of your heart muscle due to the shortage of oxygen. Angina has two forms: Stable Angina and Unstable Angina. While Stable angina takes place in the case of bodily exertion and decreased flow of oxygen in the heart, unstable angina is the same case but is not relieved by rest. A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs due to the blockage in the arteries of heart, preventing it from oxygen and blood inflow.

Q18. What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation program is a medically supervised program that helps in the improvement of health and well-being of people suffering from different kind of heart problems.

Q19. What is a Pacemaker and how does it function?

It is an electronic device which generates electrical impulses that helps to normalize heartbeat.

Q20. What is a Heart murmur?

These are the unusual sounds occurringduring heart beats. A doctor can hear them by using a stethoscope. The murmur may or may not be a sign of underlying heart disease.

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FAQs on Paediatric Cardiology & Paediatric Cardiac Surgery

Q1.What is pediatric cardiology?

Pediatric cardiology is a branch of medicine that deals with the individual having heart disease since birth (irrespective of the present age of the individual).

Q2. What are the various kinds of heart diseases in children?

According to estimation, 0.7%-1.2% (1 in 100 children) is born with a congenital heart defect.

Congenital heart defects are inclusive of a number of conditions. There are approximately 100s of types, and thus making an exact diagnosis is sometimes a challenging thing. Following are the general heart defects:

  • First one, are holes in one’s heart or great vessels: The examples of such kinds of holes in the heart of a child are inclusive of Atrial Septal Defect that is ASD, Ventricular Septal Defect that is VSD and Patent Ductus Arteriosus that is PDA
  • Second is, conditions resulting in the child becoming a blue baby: This sort of condition is also known as Cyanotic Heart Defect whose examples are inclusive of Tetralogy of Fallot’s that is TOF and Transposition that is TGA.
  • Third is, congenital narrowing of heart valves or vessels: The examples are inclusive of congenital narrowing of the pulmonary or aortic valve.

There are chances that around 30 percent of congenital heart defects are life threatening in the early parts in life and require a proper amount of attention in infancy only.

The statistics show that Rheumatic heart disease gives trouble to a large number of school-going children in India as well as other developing countries. In such sort of a defect, the heart valves seriously get damaged and as a result many children as the time passes, require a surgery or balloon procedure in the cardiac catheterization laboratory.

Q3. How do congenital heart diseases get developed?

In most cases, the causes of the development of congenital heart disease are not known. There are few chances that a viral infection in the mother during the first few stages of pregnancy might result in a serious heart problem. For instance, the heart of a child might not get properly developed if the mother gets German measles in the first three months of pregnancy.

Another important factor is heredity. There are some other conditions also that affect multiple organs, like Down’s syndrome or Mongolism, can also have an ill-effect on the heart. Along with this, there are some other drugs, if consumed at the time of pregnancy, may also which can also have an effect on the development of the heart. Consuming alcohol can also have a harmful effect on the normal development of a heart.

Q4. What are the general symptoms of heart defects in children?

 Following are the general symptoms of heart disease in infants:

  • Improper growth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excess of sweating
  • Frequency of infection in the chest
  • Blueness of lips, fingers and toes
  • Difficulty with feeding

Q5. What should a parent do when heart disease is suspected in a child?

If any of the above symptoms are noticed then consult a doctor or a pediatrician. In case the doctor has any doubts she/he may take an expert opinion from a pediatric cardiologist

Q6. Is the heart disease in children curable?

Heart diseases in children are treatable. If diagnosed at the right time, most of the congenital heart diseases can be completely cured.

Q7. Do all heart diseases in children require treatment and lifelong medication?

Heart diseases in children may be minor and might just require a regular follow up. Not all heart diseases require treatment. But it is important to diagnose them timely and appropriately by a pediatric cardiologist.

Q8. What tests will the doctor advice? Is it safe?

Doctor would commonly advise ECG, chest x-ray and echocardiography to diagnose the condition. Echocardiography does not have radiation and is absolutely a safe test.

Q9. Can echocardiography be repeated safely and how many times?

Echocardiography is an absolutely safe test and can be safely repeated without any side effects

Q10.Do all heart diseases in children require surgery?

Not all heart diseases in children require surgery. Many of them require just a regular follow up. Many congenital heart diseases like atrial septal defect(ASD), patent ductusarteriosus (PDA) and few ventricular septal defect (VSD) can be treated with key hole surgery.

Q11. What is the outcome of surgery in heart defect?

Surgery as of today has got excellent outcome with very good long-term results and a near normal lifespan, provided they are timely diagnosed.

Q12. Is any other cure for heart defects other than surgery?

Most of the heart defects require an open-heart operation but today due to advancement in technology in cardiac catheterization field, closure of some patients with heart disease is possible without an operation. The trauma of surgery becomes nil and recovery becomes rapid. Some of such heart defects are Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and some patients with Ventricular Septal Defects.

Q13. What are the signs and symptoms to report doctor after surgery?

  • Fever greater than 101°F or a low grade fever that does not go away
  • Difficulty breathing: shortness of breath, rapid or labored breathing, nasal flaring
  • Any redness, swelling, drainage or opening of the wound
  • Ongoing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or belly pain
  • Poor appetite or no interest in feeding/drinking
  • Extreme irritability, inability to get comfortable, not sleeping
  • Overall, child doesn’t seem to be getting better

Q14. Does a child need to limit physical activity after surgery?

Children need regular physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, your child will need to be careful for several weeks after the operation. Please see the tables for more information.

Instructions for babies

Time period

Activity recommendations

Up to 2 weeks after surgery, or until the chest wound is fully healed

Avoid activities that might disturb the wound.

Avoid lying on tummy. However, after this time, lying on tummy is encouraged for normal development.

Up to 6 weeks after surgery

Protect the chest muscles and bone during all activity.

Encourage lying on tummy. This promotes normal development.

Lift under head/neck and bottom.

Avoid lifting under arms.

Avoid pulling arms when moving to sitting position or while dressing.

Instructions for toddlers, children, and teens

Time period

Activity recommendations

Up to 2 weeks after surgery, or until the chest wound is fully healed

Avoid activities that might disturb the wound.

Avoid lying on tummy.

Up to 6 weeks after surgery

Protect the chest muscles and bone during all activity.

Lift toddlers under head/neck and bottom.

Avoid lifting under arms.

Avoid pushing or pulling heavy objects.

Avoid doing push-ups, sit-ups, or pulling self-up on furniture.

Avoid backward arm circle movements such as swimming.

Up to 12 weeks after surgery

Protect the chest bone during all activity.

Go back to all normal activities except for those which could cause a blow to the chest. These include rough play, ball throwing, football, hockey, karate.

Q15. Can a child live a normal life after cardiac surgery?

The overall survival of children operated on for heart defects is fairly good. The patients, especially those with simpler defects, do not have increased risk of death years after successful operation. The majority of patients are feeling well, and their life situation is similar to the general population.

Q16. What are the complications if your child is not operated despite being advised by doctor?

  • Recurrent respiratory tract infection
  • Not gaining weight
  • Lung pressure can become very high
  • Infection of heart
  • Brain infection
  • Blood clot in brain vessels

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FAQs on Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Q1.What is coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery?

The arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles sometimes get clogged by plaques (a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances) or clot. This slows down or stops regular blood flow through the heart's blood vessels, leading to chest pain or 'Heart Attack'. Heart Bypass Surgery is a type of surgery, where the blood flow is 'rerouted or bypassed' around the clogged arteries to improve the blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

Q2. When and how much a patient should walk after surgery?

Usually by the 3rd or 4th day of the surgery patients are allowed to walk. He/She should not get tired. 

Q3. Is stair climbing allowed after the surgery?

Yes, from the day of discharge patients can climb stairs slowly to avoid getting tired.

Q4.When can a patient join office/work?

Patient may gradually return to work in approx. 8-12 weeks after discharge. 

Q5. Are steel wires which are put in the chest after the surgery taken out after a period of time?

They are not removed unless they are causing pain or infection.

Q6. How soon the patient can undertake long distance journey after the surgery? 

Normally patient can undertake journey right after the stitch removal, i.e2-4 weeks after the surgery. But the final decision is taken by the doctor after assessing the patient over all conditions.

Q7. Is it safe to travel by air? 

It is safe to travel in air crafts which have pressurized chambers.

Q8. When can a patient drive on own after surgery?

It is wise to wait for 2 months after surgery before driving on own. This is the amount of time it takes for the healing of your sternum (breast bone), which was cut open during surgery. Any kind of injury can cause damage if driving is started too early. It is wise to consult with the surgical team before undertaking any activity after a bypass.

Q9. Is it necessary to speak less after surgery?

There is no reason to speak less after a surgery. However during the first few days of recovery, patient might feel short of breath while speaking for some time. If that is the case, then the body is telling to rest and the patient may speak less for some time.

Q10. Can a patient smoke after surgery? 

It is important to stop smoking and do not resume it.

Q11. Can side way position be assumed while sleeping? 

Patients are allowed to take sideways position but not for long (5-10 minutes) but always with the support of pillow. It is alright to take left side position also, if the patient is comfortable. 

Q12. Will eating curd or watermelon affect the stitches and slow down the healing of the breast bone?

No, eating curd or watermelon has no effect on your stitches or healing process.

Q13. What kind of food or diet can a patient take after surgery? 

The dietitian will guide the patient about the quantity and quality of food at the time of discharge and subsequent follow-ups.

Q14.What are the complications that can occur after a heart surgery?

Possible complications:

  • Stroke (less than 3%)
  • Heart attack during or after surgery
  • Closure of new bypass grafts
  • Bleeding from the tissues inside the chest
  • Infection at incision sites, newly placed artificial valves, or urinary bladder. Therefore, we use antibiotics before and after surgery.
  • Irregularities of the heart beat
  • Lung or kidney problems, especially if there is history of disease in these areas.

These problems are usually temporary, but may require prolonged ventilator support, or the use of kidney dialysis.

Q15.What are common risks of open heart surgery?

  • All operations carry risk. But with improvements in technology, in surgical procedures and with more surgery being performed at a younger age, the risk of complications is continually being reduced.
  • The possible complications are related to the specific type of surgery being performed and they vary widely depending on the nature of the problem which requires surgery.
  • The presence of other medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, or kidney disease can increase the risk of complications in some patients. 
    Anyhow one should discuss the operation and its risks with doctor prior to the procedure.

Q16.Does a bypass surgery guarantee an end to heart disease?

Bypass or angioplasty is in no way the end of the treatment for heart disease. It reduces the chances of future heart attack. The recovery depends upon the efficient containment of the risk factors.

Q17.What about the older blockages in the arteries after bypass surgery, will they remain?

The blockages which are present in the arteries remain as they were. The graft which provides the new blood supply is connected below your old blockages, thereby providing adequate blood to the heart muscle.

Q18. What is the chance of getting blockages again in the new grafting arteries?

Chances of getting blockages/disease of the new grafts will depend upon the patient’s risk factor and the post-operative care regarding diet, diabetes, medication and regular exercise.

Q19. What is the difference between open and closed heart surgery? 

Open heart surgery is a technique where during the surgery where the circulation of blood through the body is taken over by the heart lung machine. Most types of cardiac surgeries eg. bypass surgery, valve replacement and some other cardiac defect repair can be performed by using this approach.

Closed heart surgery refers to the type of surgery in which heart lung machine or bypass machine is not used. The surgeons work on the structures located in the exterior area of the heart. The heart continues its functions during the surgery. Various surgical operations are done on the basis of this method like – surgery for aortic coarctation, BT shunt and ligation of patent duct.

Q20. What is Minimally invasive cardiac surgery?

It is a surgical procedure performed through a small incision in the chest for coronary artery bypass, valve replacement or closure of some birth defects in the heart. It may be possible in some suitable patients.

Q21. Is Bypass surgery possible in the limbs?

Yes. The risk factors (Diabetes Mellitus, Raised Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure) that cause blockages in the arteries of the heart, can and do cause similar blocks in the arteries to the limbs. Lower limbs are affected in a majority of cases. In indicated patients peripheral angiography followed by Bypass surgery or Angioplasty is successful in a high percentage of patients.

Q22. Why does a patient feel pain in chest after surgery?

To perform the surgery, chest-bone was cut open and stitched together after surgery. It is quite normal to feel some pain or altered sensations in your chest region for a few months after surgery. However this pain will be different from the pain of 'angina' which a patient might have experienced before surgery.

Q23. Does taking out saphenous vein leads to weakness in the limb? Are there any restrictions on the movement? 

No, it does not lead to any kind of weakness and there are no restrictions on the movement also but in the initial 3 months after surgery, patients are advised to wear crepe bandage, not to sit cross legged. And not to keep the leg in the hanging position for a long time

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FAQs on Heart Valve Replacement

Q1. What is Heart Valve Replacement?

Heart valve replacement is a surgical procedure that is undertaken for the replacement of a valve which is not functioning in a proper manner. The heart has 4 valves. They function to promote co-ordinated forward blood flow during heart contraction.

Q2. Why is it required?

The need of the procedure arises when a valve or a number of valves cannot be repaired due to the extent of severity of their damage. The damage can be due to a number of reasons ageing, abnormal formation of valves at the time of birth, bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, valve diseases (Stenosis and regurgitation) etc. 

All this can lead to a number of problems in the patient such as pain in the chest, increase in the shortness of breath, increase on fatigue, fainting, swelling of the leg and ankle as well as dizziness.

Q3. What’s the duration of the procedure?

 It depends on the number of valves that are being replaced but in most of the cases, a heart valve replacement surgery takes around two to four hours.

Q4. What type of valves are used in surgery? 
Both Mechanical and Tissue valves are used. The surgeon would decide after discussing with the patient which one would be best suited.

Q5. Which one is better, a mechanical valve or a tissue valve?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. A mechanical valve lasts for a longer span in comparison to a tissue valve but the patient has to be on medication for thinning of the blood, for the rest of life for reducing the risk of clot formation. But in the case of a tissue valve, it is not so. Tissue valves have limited durability.

Q6. Why is heart valve repair preferred over heart valve replacement?

Heart valve repair is the preferred form of treatment for complex valve disease because it allows patients to retain their own heart valve and avoid the lifelong use of blood thinners. Patients who are able to keep their own heart valves may also enjoy an improved quality of life, preserved heart function and a reduced risk of stroke and infection (i.e., endocarditis).

Q7. How long does a heart valve lasts?

 In some patient, a mechanical valve might last as long as 25 years without any problem but in some cases, it may have to be replaced within a few years or months, if there is infection or malfunction.

Tissue valve does not last for such long but they can tear and leak after some time and need replacement in around 10 to 15 years. But this wearing out takes place slowly, so further planning can be done on time.

Q8. Do heart valves make any noise?

All mechanical valves make a little noise. When a mechanical heart valve opens and closes, you may hear distinct clicking sounds. This is normal. Many patients get peace of mind from this sound since it means that the heart valve is working normally.

Q9. Is an x-ray after heart valve replacement safe?

Yes, an X-ray after any kind of valve replacement is absolutely safe.

Q10. Does a new valve require special care?

Yes, a new valve needs special amount of care. Necessary instruction and guidance regarding the care of the replaced valve are given to the patient at the time of discharge.

Q11.Will a patient be able to return to normal activities after surgery?
Following valve surgery, patients typically return to normal, or better than normal, activity levels. Restrictions if any will be told at the time of discharge.

Q12. What do a patient need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle with replaced heart valve?

  • Take all medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Tell doctor if there is dramatic, unexplained weight gain, fever, pain, or other symptoms.
  • Eat a low-salt diet if doctor prescribes.
  • Follow Doctor's suggestions about bringing exercise and other activity into life.
  • Tell doctor if any lifestyle changes are made.
  • Regular blood testing (INR- International Normalized Ratio) may be necessary.