Valve Surgery in Hollywood

Valve Surgery Performed at the California Heart & Lung Surgery Center

Before undergoing valve surgery at one of our LA locations, irrespective of its type or purpose, you are required to go through a series of tests and examination procedures which will accurately assess the condition of your heart and overall health. Dr. Alexander Marmureanu will thus order some of the following tests:

  • echocardiography
  • stress test
  • electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • blood tests
  • CT scans
  • chest X-rays

Valve Repair Surgery

After you are administered general anesthesia, a large incision will be made in your sternum (chest bone), on the left side of your heart. Alternatively, if you qualify or opt for minimally invasive surgery, a small incision will be made in your chest region, either in the sternum or under your right pectoral muscle. A cardiac arrest will be induced to temporarily stop the activity of your heart and a heart-lung machine will take over the functions of your organs (breathing and blood circulation). However, the stopping of your heart may not be necessary for this procedure, depending on the particularities and complexity of your condition. In this case, the surgery will be performed while your heart is beating. Having gained access to the inside of your chest cavity, the problematic valve will be repaired appropriately. Thereby, one of the following procedures will then ensue, depending on what condition you are suffering from:

  • calcium deposits which have accumulated around the valve will be removed
  • the defective valve will be reattached to its cords
  • the size of the valve will be reduced by removing excessive tissue
  • the cords responsible for the movement of the valve leaflets will be repaired
  • if the base of the valve is weak or deteriorated, tissue or an annulus band will be placed around it

Following the repair of the problematic valve, your incision will be closed with sutures (stitches) and a sterile dressing will be applied over the wound to protect it while it is healing and prevent infections. The duration of valve repair surgery is between 3 and 5 hours.

Valve Replacement Surgery

When the heart valve is extensively damaged or deteriorated and thus cannot be repaired, you will require valve replacement surgery, during which the defective valve will be changed with an artificial implant. There are two types of prostheses available at the California Heart & Lung Surgery Center:

  • artificial implants made of high-quality resistant materials such as metal, plastic or ceramic (you will need to subsequently follow a strict treatment with anticoagulant medication if this type of prosthesis is used for your surgery)
  • biological implants made of animal or human tissue (while this prosthesis does not require treatment with anticoagulant medication after the intervention, it is less resistant than an artificial implant, generally lasting for 12-15 years, and you may, therefore, need to undergo another intervention in the future)

Valve repair surgery entails a similar process to the previous procedure. You will be administered general anesthesia, your chest cavity will be open either by making a large incision across the sternum, on the left side of the heart or by using a minimally invasive approach (one small incision) and cardiac arrest will be induced to stop the functioning of your heart and lungs. The activity of your organs will then be taken over by a heart-lung machine. Similarly, the stopping of your heart may not be necessary during valve repair surgery, depending on your condition.

After Dr. Alexander Marmureanu gains access to the inside of the chest, the implant will be carefully and securely placed in the problematic region of your heart. Finally, the incision is closed with the aid of several sutures (stitches) and a sterile dressing is applied over the wound to protect it from infections. The duration of this procedure also varies between 3 and 5 hours.

Our Locations in Los Angeles

Cedars Sinai Marina Campus

4650 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

St. Vincent Medical Center

2131 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

1300 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center

555 E Hardy St, Inglewood, CA 90301

Olympia Medical Center

5900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Providence Saint John's Health Center

2121 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401


Who Needs Valve Surgery

Valve repair or replacement surgery is recommended for a wide range of conditions concerning the four valves of the heart: aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonic. Two of the most common conditions which can be successfully resolved by undergoing valve surgery are regurgitation (occurring when a valve does not close completely, thus allowing the blood to travel backwards) and stenosis (which happens when a valve does not open completely, preventing proper blood flow).

However, there are numerous other heart affections, which can be efficiently cured by one of these interventions, including:

  • heart defects related to one of the valves
  • aortic insufficiency
  • endocarditis (infection)
  • mitral valve prolapse
  • congenital heart valve disease

What to Expect After Valve Surgery

After the valve repair or replacement is completed and your incision is closed, you will be moved to the intensive care unit, where medical professionals will permanently monitor your vital signs for one or two days. The hospitalization time can vary between 5 and 10 days, depending on how fast you are recovering. If however, postoperative complications arise, you will have to spend additional time in the hospital.

Complications are rare and heart valve surgery is performed with great success rate. Minimally invasive interventions generally entail a shorter recovery period. You will be intubated as soon as you are moved to intensive care so you will notice the following:

  • a breathing tube is attached to your airways, which will be removed shortly after the effects of anesthesia wear off
  • an IV line in your arm, through which you receive fluids and medication
  • pressure monitor lines attached to your veins and arteries which monitor the activity of your heart and other vital signals
  • a urinary catheter which will be removed when you are able to use the restroom on your own
  • one or multiple catheters inserted through your incision, with the aid of which excessive fluid will be drained from your chest cavity

Pain and discomfort are normal for several days following surgery. You will be administered pain relieving medicine which will alleviate your postoperative symptoms, as well as antibiotics in order to prevent infection. Thorough recovery is typically achieved within two months. After you are discharged from the hospital, your physician will advise you to pay special attention to the following aspects for the rest of your life so that you will recover faster and avoid the forming of blood clots:

  • a healthy diet: you should limit your intake of foods rich in fats and cholesterol, as well as avoid vitamin K, which decreases the efficiency of the anticoagulant medication you may have to take (broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, peas, etc.)
  • life-long treatment with anticoagulant medicine to prevent blood clots, if an artificial implant has been placed in your heart
  • it is highly recommended to quit smoking, as it can greatly affect your heart and lungs over time
  • exercise regularly or engage in sports to maintain your heart healthy (you should discuss with your physician regarding the activities you are allowed to perform after the surgery)