Treatment of Aortic Valve Stenosis
Your doctor will recommend treatments that correspond with the severity of your condition. Often, when symptoms are mild, your doctor will recommend medications and lifestyle changes. If your condition grows worse, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or replace your aortic valve. The ideal tehrapy for the aortic valve stenosis is replacement. However, in certain situation, aortic valve repair might be required as a “bridge” to valve replacement.
Repair of Aortic Valve Disease
If your aortic valve needs repair, your heart doctor may conduct a procedure called balloon valvuloplasty. This is a catheter-based therapy which is done from the writst or the grou. During this procedure, your interventional cardiologist will thread a long thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel near your wrist or groin until it enters your aortic valve. The tube is equipped with a balloon at its tip. Once the balloon is inside the valve, your doctor will inflate the balloon to expand the opening in the valve. The balloon is then deflated and the balloon and catheter are removed. Because your aortic valve may narrow again over time, this procedure may need to be repeated or the valve need replacement.
Replacement of Your Aortic Heart Valve
Ideally, surgery to replace your aortic valve is the recommended course for treatment. This requires cutting the skin and chest bone to reach the heart. Your surgeon will remove the damaged valve and replace it with a mechanical valve, the valve from a pig or cow tissue. People with mechanical valves requires to be on blood thinners for the rest of their life to prevent the formation of clots. The recovery time from this procedure is often 1 week in the hospital and 3 months to get back to normal life.
People who are considered to be at high risk of complications with surgery may be offered a less invasive form of valve replacement called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The recovery time from this procedure is often 1-2 days in the hospital and patients can get back to normal life after a week.
During TAVR, your doctor threads a long thin tube through a blood vessel in your leg to reach your heart. A replacement valve is guided through the tube to your heart and the valve eventually is deployed. These valve are made to expand on their own or use a balloon to open the valve. Then, your doctor will withdraw the catheter and close to the access in the groin.
Lifestyle Changes to Support Aortic Valve Stenosis
If you are diagnosed with a mild form aortic valve stenosis, your doctor may recommend changes to your daily lifestyle. They may include:
If you’re obese or overweight, your doctor may recommend weight loss.
A healthy diet.
Limit saturated fat or trans fats (like those found in some oils or margarines). Reduce salt, sugar, and dairy products. Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean poultry or fish.
Regular physical activity like brisk walking or swimming for about 30-minutes each day may be incorporated into your daily routine.
Your doctor can recommend several options like medications, support groups, or hypnosis to help you quit tobacco.
Consider exercise, hobbies, or meditation to help you relax and manage your stress.