Heart Valve Repair and Replacement

Heart valve repair or replacement surgery is a treatment option for valvular heart disease. When heart valves become damaged or diseased, they may not function properly. If valve damage is mild, your doctor may be able to treat it with medication. However, if one or more valves become insufficient then less blood is pumped in the proper direction, and your doctor may decide that the diseased valve(s) needs to be surgically repaired or replaced.

The heart surgeons at OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute perform a large volume of heart valve replacements and repairs. This experience allows the heart surgery team to provide expert care and achieve outstanding results for patients with heart valve disorders. We perform many heart valve procedures with minimally invasive techniques such as partial sternotomy, right chest approach, and even the placement of aortic heart valves through the groin, also known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, which eliminates the need for open heart surgery.

Heart Valve Repair

Many congenital and mitral valve defects can be treated with heart valve repair. The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute heart surgeons use advanced techniques to preserve your own heart valve tissue whenever possible. Heart valve repair can involve surgeons reshaping the valve, repairing the structure or using a procedure called valvuloplasty to help the valve close tightly by attaching a ring-like device to the outside of the valve opening. Many heart valve repairs can be performed minimally invasively, leading to faster recovery times.

Heart Valve Replacement

If a heart’s valve is too damaged, it will need to be replaced with a new valve to allow enough blood to flow from your heart into your arteries. There are four heart valves: the aortic valve, mitral valve, tricuspid valve, and pulmonary valve. Depending on your needs, your condition may require open heart surgery or minimally invasive options including catheter-based procedures. The heart surgeons at OHSU have decades of combined experience in valve replacement surgery and our specialists will ensure you receive the best care possible. There are two main types of heart replacement valves: mechanical and biological. 

  • Mechanical valves are made of man-made materials such as plastic, carbon or metal. They last a long time, but patients will need to take blood-thinning medicine for the rest of their lives.
  • Biological valves are made of human or animal tissue. These valves need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, but usually patients do not need to take life-long blood thinners.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with our cardiac specialists, please call 503-494-1775.


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