Every year about 6500 heart and vessel surgeries are conducted in Friedrichshafen clinic. Professor Jäger, head of cardiology department, is an experienced surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgeries. Invasive radiology is an interdisciplinary branch. It is closely connected with cardiology, as well as diabetology and vessel operation, which is why experts of the clinic collaborate with their colleagues from Tübingen university clinic and introduce new techniques of cardiac treatment.
Cardiac malfunctions – constriction (stenosis) or insufficiency – can be treated by means of their reconstruction or replacement. First of all, German surgeons try to save patient’s natural heart valve, because this will reduce the need for medication and stimulate physical stamina, improve life quality and duration. Cardiac surgery helps to normalize heart blood flow and thus reduce strain on the cardiac muscle. Depending on the extent of cardiac valve damage, German experts conduct reconstruction or full replacement surgery. High-skilled medical staff of German clinics, as well as modern equipment, allow successfully performing cardiac surgeries on patients of all ages.
Most patients suffering from mitral and, in some cases, aortic valve insufficiency are offered to conduct reconstruction or so-called valve plastic surgery. The advantage of valve reconstruction (mitral, aortic) is saving patient’s natural matter. After heart reconstruction the patient will not need to take regular medications thinning the blood or worry about the wearing of biological prosthesis and having another surgery. If heart valves are seriously damaged and cannot be reconstructed, then replacement surgery is performed.
Mechanical (artificial) or tissue (biological) prostheses are used for heart valve replacement.
Known for their reliability and high durability, they also do not require to be replaced. There is one great disadvantage: after the operation patient will need essential medication which inhibits blood clotting.
Produced from chemically treated heart parts of pigs, horses or cows. Such prostheses can be put on a carcass or be used without it. Tissues prostheses have their advantages and disadvantages. After the operation it is not necessary to take blood-thinning medications, but durability of prosthesis is time-limited, and biological valves eventually degrade. After 10-15 years (depending on patient’s age and concomitant diseases) the patient will need another heart valve replacement surgery.
Such a cardiac operation usually takes about 3-6 hours, its duration depends on how complicated the case is.
In Germany such kind of cardiac operation can be performed either on the open heart using pump oxygenator, or by means of minimally invasive method without it. For the first option an incision is made in the middle of the chest to gain access to the heart.
Aortic valve replacement operations are conducted in Germany by means of minimally invasive method, also known as keyhole surgery. In this case patient remains under general anesthesia, and access to the heart is gained through a small incision (4 cm). Pump oxygenator is not used. As a matter of priority, minimally invasive operations are conducted on high-risk patients (acute respiratory failure, old age, concomitant diseases).
In clinics of Germany patients can be discharged in 3-4 days after minimally invasive valve replacement is conducted.