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Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement
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Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement

  How do I know if I'm a candidate for minimally invasive aortic valve replacement surgery? What factors go into your decision as to whether or not this surgical approach is optimal for a given individual?
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Dear Rick:
The first question is whether you need valve surgery at all.  If a cardiologist has determined that you do, then the minimally invasive approach is worth considering, if your surgeon has adequate experience with this technique.
Minimally invasive surgery for the aortic valve involves a smaller incision than standard surgery. To be done safely, a heart-lung machine must be used. The minimally invasive approach is not suitable for patients that require repeat open heart surgery or that require bypass grafting or other valvular surgery at the same time. There appears to be less post-operative pain and bleeding with the minimally invasive approach, though it is, at present, unknown if there is any long-term benefit compared to standard surgery. The aortic valve can be either repaired or replaced through a minimally invasive approach. The development of minimally invasive aortic valve surgery does not change the timing of surgery (that is, don
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