Aortic or heart valve replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace a damaged or diseased heart valve with a new one.
The heart has four valves that regulate blood flow in and out of its chambers, and when one or more of these valves become diseased or malfunctioning, they may need to be replaced.
The aortic valve is one of the four valves in the heart and is located between the left ventricle (lower chamber) and the aorta (the main artery that carries oxygenated blood to the body).
When the aortic valve becomes narrowed (a condition known as aortic stenosis) or fails to close properly (aortic regurgitation), it can cause significant symptoms and complications.
How much does heart valve replacement surgery cost?
On average, the cost of heart valve replacement surgery in India can range from INR 3 lakhs to INR 6 lakhs or more.
Here’s a comparison table highlighting the approximate cost range of heart valve replacement surgery in different Indian cities:
|Valve Transplant Cost (INR)
|2,00,000 – 5,00,000
|2,50,000 – 5,50,000
|3,50,000 – 6,00,000
|2,50,000 – 6,00,000
|3,00,000 – 5,00,000
|3,50,000 – 6,00,000
Factors affect the Aortic valve replacement cost
Several factors can affect the cost of heart valve replacement surgery in India. Some of the key factors include:
- Type of Valve: The cost can vary based on the type of valve used for the replacement. There are mechanical valves and biological valves (tissue valves) available, and the cost of each type may differ.
- Hospital or Medical Facility: Different hospitals or medical facilities may have varying pricing structures based on their reputation, infrastructure, and quality of services. Renowned hospitals may charge higher fees compared to smaller or less well-known facilities.
- Surgeon’s Fees: The experience, expertise, and reputation of the surgeon performing the procedure can impact the cost. Highly skilled and renowned surgeons may charge higher fees for their services.
- Location: The geographical location within India can also influence the cost. Metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, or Bangalore often have higher costs of living, which can reflect in higher medical expenses.
- Additional Medical Services: The overall cost may include additional services such as pre-surgical investigations, diagnostic tests, consultations, post-operative care, medications, and rehabilitation. These factors can vary from case to case and affect the total cost.
- Insurance Coverage: If you have health insurance, the coverage and terms of your policy can impact the out-of-pocket expenses you incur. It is important to check with your insurance provider about coverage for heart valve replacement surgery.
How is this surgery done?
Heart valve replacement surgery is a procedure performed to replace a damaged or diseased heart valve with an artificial valve or a biological valve (made from animal or human tissue). Here is a general overview of how the surgery is done:
- Anesthesia: The patient is administered general anesthesia to ensure they are unconscious and pain-free throughout the procedure.
- Incision: A surgical incision is made in the chest to access the heart. The specific location and size of the incision may vary depending on the surgeon’s preference and the patient’s condition.
- Cardiopulmonary Bypass: The surgeon connects the patient to a heart-lung machine, which takes over the functions of the heart and lungs during the surgery. The machine allows the surgeon to stop the patient’s heart temporarily while performing the valve replacement.
- Accessing the Heart: The surgeon opens the heart by making an incision in the appropriate chamber to access the damaged valve. The choice of the chamber and approach depends on the valve being replaced (mitral, aortic, tricuspid, or pulmonary).
- Removal of the Damaged Valve: The surgeon carefully removes the damaged valve, taking care not to damage the surrounding tissues.
- Valve Replacement: The new valve, either mechanical or biological, is positioned and securely attached to the heart using sutures or special techniques. The surgeon ensures proper alignment and functionality of the new valve.
- Closing the Incision: Once the new valve is in place, the surgeon closes the incision in the heart using sutures. The heart is then allowed to resume its normal function.
- Weaning from the Heart-Lung Machine: The patient’s heart is gradually restarted, and the heart-lung machine is slowly disconnected. The patient’s own heart and lungs take over their normal functions.
- Closure of the Chest: The surgeon closes the incision in the chest using sutures or staples. The incision is typically covered with sterile dressings.
- Recovery: The patient is transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) for close monitoring and post-operative care. Over time, the patient is gradually weaned off mechanical ventilation and medications to stabilize heart function.
Which type of valve is used?
There are two main types of heart valves used in valve replacement surgeries:
- Mechanical Valves: Mechanical valves are made from durable materials, such as metal or ceramic. These valves are long-lasting and have a low risk of deterioration over time. They typically require the patient to take lifelong blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, to prevent blood clots from forming around the valve. Mechanical valves have a longer lifespan but may require regular monitoring and adjustments of the medication dosage.
- Biological Valves: Biological valves, also known as tissue valves, are made from animal tissue (porcine or bovine) or human tissue (from a human donor). These valves do not require long-term blood-thinning medication as they have a lower risk of blood clot formation. Biological valves may wear out over time, and their durability varies. They are often preferred for older patients or individuals who cannot tolerate blood-thinning medication. Biological valves may need to be replaced after 10-20 years, depending on the individual and valve type.
The choice of valve depends on various factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, preference, and the surgeon’s recommendation. Younger patients who require valve replacement may be more likely to receive a mechanical valve due to its longer lifespan. Biological valves are often chosen for older patients or those who cannot take blood-thinning medications.
How soon will the patient get back to normal life?
After heart valve replacement surgery, the recovery period and the time it takes for a patient to return to a normal life can vary. Here are some general guidelines:
- Hospital Stay: The typical hospital stay after heart valve replacement surgery is around 5 to 7 days. However, this can vary depending on the patient’s overall health, the type of valve replaced, and any complications that may arise during or after the surgery.
- Recovery Period: The initial recovery period after surgery involves gradually regaining strength, healing the incision, and allowing the body to adjust to the new valve. It may take several weeks to a few months to fully recover and resume normal activities.
- Physical Activity: Initially, patients are advised to rest and gradually increase their activity levels under the guidance of their healthcare team. Light activities such as walking are encouraged early on, while more strenuous activities and exercises may be gradually introduced over time.
- Medications: Patients will typically be prescribed medications after surgery, such as blood thinners, antibiotics, and medications to manage pain and control blood pressure. It is important to follow the prescribed medication regimen as directed by the healthcare provider.
- Follow-up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with the surgeon or cardiologist are essential to monitor the progress of recovery, assess the functioning of the new valve, and make any necessary adjustments to medications.
- Lifestyle Changes: Patients may be advised to make certain lifestyle modifications to promote heart health, such as adopting a heart-healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, quitting smoking (if applicable), and managing stress.
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