Prosthetic heart valves are artificial valves made of either metal or tissue. The prosthetic valve essentially acts as a one-way door and is sewn by a surgeon into the place of your native heart valve (the door frame). Over time, a space may begin to develop in between the door and the door frame due to wear/tear or possibly infections. Blood can then leak through the space and result in symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, or the need for recurrent blood transfusions due to hemolysis. In many cases, our team can deliver small plugs into the leaky space via a flexible tube called a catheter. The plugs effectively seal the space and reduce the amount of leakiness. This procedure does not require open heart surgery or stopping the heart. Most patients are able to walk on the same day and can be discharged on the following day.
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