Aortic Valve Replacement

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While our doctors successfully manage some aortic valve glitches with checkups or medications, more serious leaking (valve regurgitation) or narrowing (valve stenosis) requires aortic valve surgery.

Usually that means we need to replace the valve.

Our doctors offer the latest implantable valves — either through standard surgeries or minimally invasive approaches for our sicker patients and those who prefer a smaller incision.

In the past, we replaced only the most severely diseased aortic valves. However, given the advances in technology and techniques, we now believe a wider group of patients may benefit. We have even operated successfully on patients in their 80s and 90s.

Learn more about our heart valve disease program by downloading our Heart Valve Patient Guide.

Heart Valve Replacement at the UM Heart & Vascular Center

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We believe success means more than simply replacing your aortic valve. We make sure your new valve is the best type and size for your individual anatomy and health challenges. Our program accomplishes that with:

  • Deep experience: Our lead aortic valve surgeon does hundreds of replacements a year, with the help of a highly experienced team. We receive referrals for complicated aortic valve cases from around the region. These include:
    • Redoing replacements if patients later need a coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG 
    • Operating on patients with long-running valve problems that have caused their hearts to weaken
    • Working with our heart failure colleagues to replace valves in heart failure patients, often times avoiding the long-term use of heart pumps
  • Teamwork: Our aortic valve team meets weekly, bringing together a range of specialists from different disciplines to help decide who will potentially benefit from surgery.
  • Treatment choices: We offer a wide range of valve types and surgical techniques — including catheter-based approaches for patients unable to undergo traditional operations. Our lead surgeon understands the subtleties of valve selection and replacement, and takes the time to explain why a particular valve is recommended. 
  • Top CABG: Half of patients undergoing valve replacement also require coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) because of blockage(s). We have a top bypass team and are among the first centers in the mid-Atlantic to offer a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted option. Learn more about our minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) procedure and our totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass (TECAB).
  • Leading clinical trials: Our program’s strong reputation allows our center to conduct early evaluations of promising new replacement valves, giving our patients access to options not available elsewhere. We are among select Maryland centers offering a new, suture-free valve that does not require stitching, with smaller incisions and half the normal time spent on a heart-lung machine.