Surgical aortic valve replacement is a treatment option for aortic stenosis.
Surgical aortic valve replacement is an open heart procedure, where the sternum is divided to visualise the heart. Once the heart is accessed, patients may be put on a heart-lung machine for the duration of the procedure, while cardiac surgeons replace or repair the aortic valve. At this time the surgeon may also perform other procedures if needed, such as coronary artery bypass grafting, to avoid the patient requiring an additional operation.
Patients will often spend a few days within the intensive care unit (ICU) for close monitoring. Once the patient is ready to leave the ICU, they transition to the ward for monitoring until the surgical team decides the patient is fit for discharge home. A full recovery can usually take up to 8 weeks, although individual recovery times can vary. Most patients are able to drive in about 3 to 8 weeks after surgery. The surgical team will provide specific guidelines regarding recovery1.