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Aortic valve replacement - Preparing for your aortic valve surgery

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Before having an aortic valve replacement, you will attend a pre-admission clinic. Here, you'll be seen by a member of the team who will look after you in hospital.

At the clinic, you will have a physical examination and will be asked for details of your medical history.

Any investigations and tests that you need will be arranged. For example, these could include a blood test or an X-ray. This is a good time to ask questions about the procedure, although you can discuss your concerns with your doctor at any time.

You will be asked if you are taking any tablets or other types of medication. These might be prescribed by your GP or bought over-the-counter (OTC) in a pharmacy. It helps if you bring details with you about any medication you are taking, for example by bringing the packaging with you.

You will be asked about any previous anaesthetics you have had, and whether you had any problems or side effects with these, such as nausea. You will also be asked whether you are allergic to anything. This is to prevent you having an allergic reaction to any medication you might need.

You will be asked about your teeth, including whether you have dentures, caps or a plate. This is because during the operation you will need to have a breathing tube inserted into your throat to help you breathe, and having loose teeth could be dangerous.

If you smoke, you will be advised to stop. Quitting smoking will lower the risks of complications occurring after surgery, such as chest infection or blood clots.

It is likely you will be in hospital for at least seven days, so you will need to make some practical preparations. These include bringing clothes, toiletries and any equipment you use, such as a walking stick or hearing aid.

Read more about going into hospital and preparing for surgery.

Aortic valve

The aortic valve is the valve that controls the flow of blood out of the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta (the body's main artery).

Nausea

Nausea is when you feel like you are going to be sick.

X-ray

An X-ray is an imaging technique that uses high-energy radiation to show up abnormalities in bones and certain body tissue, such as breast tissue.
Medical Review: January 25, 2012
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