What is Heart Valve Surgery

Dr. Stephen Fort, MD, MBChB, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses diagnosis and treatment for What is Heart Valve Surgery.

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Dr. Stephen Fort, MD, MBChB, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses diagnosis and treatment for What is Heart Valve Surgery.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Stephen Fort, MD, MBChB, FRCSC, Cardiologist
What is Heart Valve Surgery
Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Well, patients waiting for valve surgery either an open chest procedure, which is the routine, or the newer procedure, which is a percutaneous valve procedure, otherwise known as a TAVI, they’re all triaged before they’re given a date for their surgery.  

Not all patients can have an operation at the time of their first diagnosis or their first admission. Some patients will have to wait a few weeks or months and have it done as an elective procedure, or patients that triaged at the time of the diagnosis.  

So that date for surgery takes into account their presence in terms and the risk and the expected rate of decline that’s possible for their condition.  

But unexpected things do happen. Obviously patients who are waiting valve surgery need to be monitored for unexpected deterioration, and the usual deterioration is either in symptoms of heart failure or angina or light headedness and dizziness.  

And so for that reason it’s very important to monitor all patients for symptoms that have increased beyond which are present at the time that they saw the surgeon.

So any increase beyond what their normal is  – an increasing breathlessness, ankle swelling, chest pain, light headedness, dizziness – should alert the patient to contact their physician, the surgeon, the cardiologist, and the surgical coordinator should be contacted.

If there is any problem there, the patient should be referred to the emergency department, and the date for surgery may well be rescheduled.  

It's also important that the increased use of pre-surgical assessment clinics will hopefully pick up those patients that cannot wait for their date of elective surgery and are deteriorating.  

In the advent of any deterioration, the patient should contact their physician. The surgeon, the cardiologist, or the surgical coordinator need to be informed. If there’s any problems with this, the patient should be seen in the emergency department and reassessed.

The increased use of pre-surgical assessment clinics is hopefully preventing these deteriorations and picking up these patients as an earlier stage.

Presenter: Dr. Stephen Fort, Cardiologist, Kelowna, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

Video Quiz ( 41 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Heart valve surgery can be elective surgery that requires the patient to wait weeks and sometimes months for a surgery date.


During the wait time for elective surgery, patients should be monitored for increased symptoms of heart failure, angina, dizziness and shortness of breath.


Patients that have increased symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath and ankle swelling should go the emergency department.


All heart valve surgery is now done without opening the chest.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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