Valve repair or replacement

The heart is your body's pump that is made up of muscle tissues. It has four pumping chambers, namely the two upper chambers called atria and two lower chambers, called ventricles. There are valves in between each chamber, and they are responsible for maintaining blood flow through to the heart.

There are different types of valves, namely:

  • Pulmonary valve – this valve is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
  • Aortic valve – this is located in between the aorta and the left ventricle.
  • Mitral valve – this is situated in between the left ventricle and the atrium.
  • Tricuspid valve – this valve is situated in between the right ventricle and right atrium.

Valve repair or replacement surgery is a procedure done to treat heart valve diseases where one of the four heart valves are not working properly. During this procedure, the surgeon replaces or repairs the affected or damaged heart valve.

When is a valve repair or replacement surgery needed?

A valve repair or replacement surgery is done to treat or correct problems caused by heart valve diseases. If you have a diseased or damaged heart valve, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Edema or swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention

Depending on the nature or severity of the heart valve disease, Dr Dongo may recommend a valve repair or replacement to be done.

What does surgery entail?

Valve repair or replacement surgery may be performed by the use of standard open-heart surgery, which involves the surgeon cutting your chest through the breastbone. Minimally invasive heart surgery, which involves the surgeon making smaller incisions in your chest, may also be performed.

  • Heart valve repair surgery
    During this procedure, Dr Dongo will patch holes in a valve and reconnect the valve flaps. He will then remove the excess valve tissues in order for the valve flaps to be closed tightly. The surgeon will then replace the cords of the valve so that he is able to repair the structural support and then separate the flaps that have been fused.
  • Heart valve replacement surgery
    if your heart valve can't be repaired, the valve might need to be replaced. During the procedure, Dr Dongo will remove the heart valve and replace it with a mechanical valve or from a heart tissue donor.

After the surgery, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures or surgical staples.


A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist medical doctor who performs operations on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. Dr Lehlohonolo Dongo's Qualifications.


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