How Serious is Heart Valve Replacement Surgery for Seniors?

Heart health is complex – but for older adults, there are few more important factors when it comes to your overall quality of life. If you or someone you love is currently experiencing poor cardiac health, it’s possible that a surgery might be in the future. But what are the limits of aortic valve replacement in elderly patients – and how do you know what’s right for you?

As always, we remind you that even the best online research is no replacement for firsthand medical advice. You should consult your doctor or clinician before making any medical decision. But we hope this blog serves as an educational resource for you and your family.

What is the Life Expectancy After Heart Valve Replacement?

There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for how heart valve replacement will impact your health. The success of any surgical operation depends on your unique case – your health going into the operation, the process itself and how you recover afterward. But research trends can tell us a little bit about the immediate and long-term effects of common surgical techniques.

One study published in the Journal of Cardiac Surgery examined the success of heart valve replacement at age 85 and up. It found that open heart surgery can be performed in patients 85 years and older with good results – though elderly patients are associated with “prolonged hospital stay(s)”. However, some risk factors can make this less likely, including having severely weakened heart valves pre-surgery.

Open heart surgery isn’t the only way to replace a valve – for aortic stenosis patients, there’s also transcatheter aortic-valve implantation. This is a less invasive technique that could be more appropriate for older patients. It reaches the heart through a major artery instead of requiring more serious surgery. According to researchers, this technique doubles survival rates within the first year compared to living without valve replacement.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there such a thing as ‘too old’? What about aortic valve replacement in a 90-year-old? Ultimately, there’s two people who matter when making this decision: the senior and their doctor. There are risks associated with any medical procedure, but you may decide that the cost of inaction outweighs the risks.
  • If I had heart valve replacement at 65, will I need another later? Possibly, depending on a number of factors, including the health of your other valves at the time. It’s not uncommon for those with heart valve issues to live long lives with the help of modern medicine, nutrition and fitness.

Consider Post-Surgical Care Options

There’s no end to the kinds of post-surgical care offered around the country – from in-hospital rehabilitation to outpatient visiting therapist services. But there’s only one that balances the best things about inpatient care with the comforts of home – a residential-style care provider like Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Care.

Here, you or your loved one will have care available 24-hours a day along with healthful meals, ample amenities and convenient services. It’s all about removing obstacles so you can focus on healing.

To learn how we can help, contact us today.