How to prepare for your aortic valve replacement procedure
Having any medical procedure can be overwhelming, but it is important to take the next step toward managing your health.
Aortic valve replacement can be done through transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), also known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), or open heart surgery. As you prepare for your aortic valve replacement, you may wonder what the procedure will be like, what you can expect, and what the risks may be. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any questions you may have.
What to do before aortic valve replacement
Your doctor will provide information and specific instructions on preparing for your procedure. In addition to their instructions, there are a few things you might consider in the weeks and days leading up to the procedure.
Ask how much you can exercise
Ask your doctor what level of activity is appropriate. Even short periods of exercise can become difficult depending on how severe your aortic stenosis has become. It is important to make note of new symptoms that might arise when exercising, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or feeling faint.
Talk to your doctor about your medications
Consult your doctor to figure out which medications you should or should not take leading up to and on the day of your procedure.
Eat a healthy diet
Talk to your doctor about which foods are recommended. Also, discuss with your doctor if and when you should stop eating or drinking prior to your procedure.
Get a dental check-up
Because oral bacteria can cause infection of the valve, it is important to visit your dentist prior to your valve replacement procedure to make sure you are in good dental health.
Make a recovery plan
While some people are released from the hospital within a few days of the procedure, others may take longer to go home. Your doctor will be able to tell you when it’s safe to return home. It’s important to work out details such as who will take you home, who will stay with you, or help you prepare meals.
Your hospital stay
The length of hospital stay is different for everyone and depends on the type of procedure you undergo. Most people come in the morning of their TAVI procedure and may be discharged within a few days, depending on their recovery. Open heart surgery may result in a longer recovery. Your doctor can provide more specific information about how long you may be in the hospital and answer any questions you have about the procedure.
Explore the different ways aortic valve replacement can be performed and what you can expect on the day of your procedure.