Heart Valve Center
We’re healing the pipelines of your heart
Our heart valve experts treat complex cases, including those considered too high-risk for other heart care centers. The Aurora BayCare Valve Center is a multidisciplinary group of cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and radiologists proficient in diagnosing and treating heart valve disease.
The Aurora BayCare Heart Valve Center includes specialized technology and proven methodologies to diagnose heart valve disorders:
- Heart valve disease screening
- Transesophageal echocardiogram
- Cardiac catheterization
Our team provides advanced heart valve repair and replacement surgery, providing expertise for complex cases. Services include:
- Heart valve repair surgery
- Heart valve replacement surgery
- Aortic root replacements (valve sparing)
- Apical conduit
Smaller Incisions, Faster Recovery
Traditional heart surgery requires exposing the heart by dividing the breastbone and putting the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass (a heart lung machine). But a minimally invasive approach used at Aurora BayCare allows access to the heart without a large breastbone incision and sometimes without heart and lung support.
Aurora BayCare surgeons are experts in minimally invasive heart procedures. Our surgeons have demonstrated that minimally invasive surgery can be used successfully in a wide variety of cardiac surgery, including heart valve repair and heart valve replacement surgery.
Repairing or Replacing Your Heart Valve
At Aurora BayCare, our heart care team will focus on repairing your heart valve whenever possible. Valve repair often provides the best long-term outcome. Heart valve repair provides fewer risks, compared to heart valve replacement, and does not require long-term use of blood thinners after surgery.
When your aortic valve is too damaged, a replacement valve is generally needed. Patients who need an aortic valve replacement suffer from one of two conditions:
- Aortic valve stenosis or aortic stenosis: Stenosis is the term for a valve that doesn’t open properly. When the valve doesn’t open all the way, less blood flows through and your body doesn’t get as much oxygenated blood as it should. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the valve in your aorta, the main artery branching off your heart.
Aortic stenosis commonly develops with age, although some people have aortic stenosis because they had a malformed valve at birth. Symptoms can include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest tightness, fainting, or a reduced tolerance for exercise.
- Aortic valve regurgitation or insufficiency: heart valve doesn't properly close and allows blood to leak backwards through the valve. Symptoms often don’t occur until heart failure develops—a forceful pulse, pain in the chest, fainting or shortness of breath.
During a heart valve replacement, your diseased valve will be removed and replaced with either a mechanical or tissue valve.
- Mechanical Valves. A mechanical valve is made of metal and is designed to simulate the natural heart valve. Patients with a mechanical valve replacement will need to take blood thinners to lower the risk of blood clots.
- Tissue Valves. A tissue valve is made from animal tissue and then chemically treated to prepare it for human use. Unlike mechanical valves, patients that receive tissue valves do not have to take anticoagulants. Because these valves are made from natural tissue, they do not last as long as mechanical valves.
Your surgeon will review your condition and risk factors with you, and help you decide whether valve repair or heart valve replacement is your best option.
Sutureless Valve Replacement
If you need an aortic valve replacement, you may be a candidate for a new class of tissue valve—one that can be secured without stitches. These 100% sutureless valves are self-anchoring, similar to TAVI. A sutureless option significantly reduces surgery time, cutting your overall surgical risk. These valves offer traditional valve durability with improved performance in a lower profile design.
Aurora BayCare is leading the way with innovative therapies. We are the first in the region to offer the Perceval sutureless aortic valve replacement.
- Shorter time in surgery
- Less time on the heart-lung bypass machine
- Allows option of minimally invasive surgical approach
- Side effects from surgery may be reduced
- No need to use blood thinners after surgery
Heart Valve Specialists
Aurora BayCare doctors in the Heart Valve Center have extensive experience treating people with heart valve disease. Talk to us for a wider range of treatment options, access to the latest clinical research, and industry-leading outcomes.