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How do you prepare for heart valve surgery?

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Quick Answer

To prepare for a heart valve repair or replacement surgery, fast for the eight hours prior to the procedure; avoid smoking; and inform your doctor about any allergies to medicines, local and general anesthetic agents, tape, latex, or iodine. Tell the doctor if you're currently taking herbal supplements or medications, particularly blood-thinning drugs, aspirin or other medicines that interfere with blood clotting, advises Johns Hopkins Medicine. Notify the doctor if you previously experienced bleeding disorders.

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Inform your doctor if you're pregnant or if you're using a pacemaker, recommends Johns Hopkins Medicine. Your doctor may order blood tests to evaluate the speed of your blood clotting and request other diagnostic exams to ensure you are in good condition before the heart valve repair or replacement surgery. Depending on your health condition, the doctor may provide further preparation instructions.

On the day of the surgery, avoid bringing jewelry and other items that can affect the procedure, instructs Johns Hopkins Medicine. Before the start of the surgery, it is important to empty your bladder and receive an intravenous line in your hand or arm. The nurse may insert other catheters in your wrist or neck to keep track of your blood pressure levels and heart function. After a heart valve repair or replacement surgery, several days of hospital stay are necessary to allow doctors to monitor your recovery.

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