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What Are the Most Common Complications of Aortic Valve Replacement?

Aortic valve replacement, a life-saving procedure, can sometimes lead to complications such as bleeding, infection, or irregular heart rhythms. Less commonly, stroke or valve dysfunction may occur. Each patient's risk varies, making personalized care crucial. Are you or a loved one facing this surgery? Understanding these risks is key. How can you prepare for a successful outcome? Continue reading to learn more.
Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Some of the most common complications of aortic valve replacement include infection, bleeding, and nausea. Irregular heartbeat, reactions to anesthesia, and the development of blood clots may also occur as a result of this procedure. Additional complications of aortic valve replacement may include heart attack, stroke, or failure of the new valve. Any bothersome symptoms that develop following surgery to replace the aortic valve should be reported to a member of the medical staff for further evaluation.

Infection is a common issue after any type of surgical procedure and may cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the incision. Fever, chills, and excessive sweating are also potential signs of infection. Antibiotics are often prescribed before and after the procedure in an effort to prevent bacteria from invading the heart, leading to a potentially life-threatening complication known as endocarditis.

Complications of aortic valve replacement can include a heart attack.
Complications of aortic valve replacement can include a heart attack.

Abnormal bleeding at the surgical site may occur after valve replacement surgery. Signs of internal bleeding may include bruising, swelling, or pain near the affected area. In the most severe cases, additional surgical procedures may be required in order to stop the bleeding and remove any excessive accumulation of blood. Those who are taking blood-thinning drugs are often asked to discontinue the medications a few days before surgery in order to decrease bleeding risks.

Blood clot formation following an aortic valve replacement is not uncommon, so doctors may prescribe compression stockings.
Blood clot formation following an aortic valve replacement is not uncommon, so doctors may prescribe compression stockings.

Nausea and vomiting are possible complications of aortic valve replacement and are often responses to the medications used during anesthesia. Increased blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke may sometimes occur as a result of the anesthesia as well. Occasionally, a person may have a potentially fatal allergic reaction to sedation medications. Blood clots are also relatively common complications of aortic valve replacement, so the patient may be given special medications and compression stockings following the procedure and asked to elevate the legs to help prevent these clots from forming.

Excessive sweating following an aortic valve replacement is a sign of infection.
Excessive sweating following an aortic valve replacement is a sign of infection.

Arrhythmia is a medical term used to describe irregular heartbeat. Following an aortic valve replacement, it is possible for the heart to beat too fast or too slowly or alternate between the two irregularities. This can sometimes be controlled with medications, although an additional surgery may be necessary to insert an artificial pacemaker that works to regulate the heartbeat.

Arrhythmia,cardiac arrest and other life-threatening side effects are rare complications after an aortic valve replacement.
Arrhythmia,cardiac arrest and other life-threatening side effects are rare complications after an aortic valve replacement.

Valve failure is one of the potential complications of aortic valve replacement. Fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain are among the most common symptoms of valve failure, although some people may not experience any negative symptoms. As soon as the patient is considered stable enough for an additional operation, the valve replacement procedure can be repeated.

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Discussion Comments

anon1007121

How long after valve replacement are the risk factors continued?

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    • Complications of aortic valve replacement can include a heart attack.
      By: Matthew Cole
      Complications of aortic valve replacement can include a heart attack.
    • Blood clot formation following an aortic valve replacement is not uncommon, so doctors may prescribe compression stockings.
      By: nito
      Blood clot formation following an aortic valve replacement is not uncommon, so doctors may prescribe compression stockings.
    • Excessive sweating following an aortic valve replacement is a sign of infection.
      By: camrocker
      Excessive sweating following an aortic valve replacement is a sign of infection.
    • Arrhythmia,cardiac arrest and other life-threatening side effects are rare complications after an aortic valve replacement.
      By: Monkey Business
      Arrhythmia,cardiac arrest and other life-threatening side effects are rare complications after an aortic valve replacement.
    • Signs of an infection after an aortic valve replacement may include fever and chills.
      By: JackF
      Signs of an infection after an aortic valve replacement may include fever and chills.
    • There are several possible reactions to the anesthesia used during an aortic valve replacement.
      By: Tyler Olson
      There are several possible reactions to the anesthesia used during an aortic valve replacement.
    • Abnormal bleeding at a surgical site may occur after valve replacement surgery.
      By: Monkey Business
      Abnormal bleeding at a surgical site may occur after valve replacement surgery.