Valvular Heart Disease
Valvular heart disease refers to several disorders and diseases of the heart valves, which are the tissue flaps that regulate the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.
The four valves function in the following manner:
The mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle. It is the only valve with two flaps, or cusps.
The tricuspid valve is located on the right side of the heart, between the right atrium and right ventricle. It is made up of three cusps, each a different size.
The aortic valve is located on the left side of the heart and opens to allow blood to leave the heart from the left ventricle into the aorta, which is the main artery of the body. It closes to prevent blood from flowing back into the left ventricle.
The pulmonary valve is situated on the right side of the heart, between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery. It allows blood to exit the heart and enter the lungs via the pulmonary artery. It closes to prevent blood from flowing back into the right ventricle.
Patients with valvular heart disease have a malfunction of one or more of these valves. There are several types of valvular heart diseases with distinct symptoms and treatments. These are:
mitral valve prolapse (displacement), mitral valve insufficiency (regurgitation), mitral valve stenosis (narrowing), aortic valve insufficiency, aortic valve stenosis, tricuspid valve insufficiency, tricuspid valve stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, pulmonic insufficiency
Certain types of heart disease can lead to one of the specific conditions listed above. These include rheumatic fever and infective inflammation of the heart (endocarditis). Multivalvular heart disease refers to a condition involving more than one of the heart valves.
Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
Standard heart surgery typically requires exposure of the heart and its vessels through median sternotomy (dividing the breastbone), considered one of the most invasive and traumatic aspects of open-chest surgery. A minimally invasive approach allows access to the heart through small incisions and without stopping the heart, or separating the breastbone (sternum) and ribcage, or requiring a heart-lung machine to be used.
USC surgeons are trained in all aspects of minimally invasive surgery, including beating heart operations for CABG as well as the port-access minimally invasive surgical platform that utilizes CPB and an endovascular catheter system to arrest the heart and provide protection during the operation. It is the only minimally invasive technology that makes it possible to provide the time-tested myocardial protection achieved through cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Operating on a protected, motionless heart is the only way to gain the high degree of precision and accuracy required for complete revascularization. USC surgeons are committed to achieving this proven requisite for enhancing long-term patency and valve function and reducing the need for repeat surgeries.
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