Arnold Schwarzenegger, 70, underwent a transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement on Thursday.
However, he suffered complications which led to emergency open heart surgery.
He is now stable.
WHO NEEDS A TRANSCATHETER PULMONARY VALVE REPLACEMENT (TPVR)?
There are four valves which control the heart’s blood flow.
One of those if the pulmonary valve. It opens when the right ventricle of the heart contracts, allowing oxygen-parched blood into the lungs for oxygen.
Any issues with this valve can impact blood flow to the entire body.
Many can go years without pulmonary heart valve issues being spotted, since the symptoms of fatigue, arrhythmia and shortness of breath.
WHY A TPVR INSTEAD OF SURGERY?
TPVR operations are associated with shorter hospital stays compared to open surgery, but produce near-identical results.
This strategy is often used as a safer bet for people who may have risks with their hearts.
This includes people who have already undergone a valve replacement, as Schwarzenegger did in Mexico in 1997. At the time, he told reporters he’d had no symptoms but elected to get operated in an abundance of caution.
The high-risk bracket also includes patients who show severe symptoms of aortic stenosis. Severe symptoms suggest the person has a high risk of succumbing to their condition if not operated on soon.
Finally, doctors will also endorse a TPVR over open surgery if the patient suffers from other debilitating conditions, like lung disease and kidney disease.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Though the operation is minimally-invasive, it carries a high risk of death, largely because it is performed on high-risk patients:
- Blood vessel complications
- Problems with the replacement valve, such as the valve slipping out of place or leaking
- Heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias)
- Kidney disease
- Heart attack