Cardiac Valve Replacement (AVR/MVR) in Spain

Atrial and mitral are the two main valves in the human heart. These valves have a special function to control or regulate the blood flow in the heart.

Atrial valve replacement and mitral valve replacement are required because of a defect in the functioning of these valves. When the valves do not open or close properly, it affects the flow of blood through the heart.

The defect may arise because of many reasons. But the two main reasons are as follows:

  • Narrowing of the valve (Stenosis)
  • Leakage in the valve leading to backflow of the blood (Regurgitation)

The decision to conduct valve replacement depends on the clinical status of the patients as per diagnostic reports and clinical symptoms. Sometimes, the patient is a candidate for aortic valve repair or mitral valve repair and does not require replacement of the valve. Therefore, the decision is made after the physical assessment and evaluation of the patient.

Factors Affecting the Cost of AVR and MVR

The following factors affect AVR cost and MVR cost:

  • The type of valve used - prosthetic/mechanical or biological/bovine
  • Experience of the surgeon
  • Type of hospital or clinic
  • Hospital charges
  • Room category selected
  • Type of investigations done
  • Duration of hospital stay
  • Any unforeseen complications
  • Medicines and consumables used
  • Ventilator use
Treatment and Cost

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About the Cardiac Valve Replacement

Heart valve diseases occur due to improper functioning of the valves. Sometimes a valve does not open or does not close proper. In this condition, the blood does not flow properly and requires valve replacement. The important valves present in human body are aortic valve, mitral valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve. If a valve cannot be repaired, then a heart valve replacement surgery is performed.

Heart valve replacement surgery is the replacement of heart valves with artificial valves or bioprosthesis. It is an alternative treatment to valve repair.

Valve replacement includes four procedures:

  • Aortic valve replacement (AVR)
  • Mitral valve replacement (MVR)
  • Tricuspid valve replacement (TVR)
  • Pulmonary valve replacement (PVR)

The aortic valve and the mitral valve replacements are the most common. Pulmonary and tricuspid valve replacements are uncommon in adults.

Aortic valve replacement (AVR)

It is a procedure in which a diseased aortic valve is replaced with an artificial heart valve. Many diseases affect the aortic valve; the valve can either become leaky or partially blocked. Recent aortic valve replacement procedures include open-heart surgery via a sternotomy, minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

How is Cardiac Valve Replacement performed?

Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)

Surgical procedure- In Aortic valve replacement the incision is made by cutting through the sternum. After the pericardium is opened, the patient is put on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine, which is also known as the heart-lung machine. This machine performs the task of breathing for the patient and pumping their blood around while the surgeon replaces the heart valve.

The surgeon makes a cut in the aorta when the patient is on bypass and applies a crossclamp. The patient's diseased aortic valve is removed and is replaced by a mechanical or tissue valve. After the placement of artificial valve and closing the aorta, the heart-lung machine is taken off from the patient. A transesophageal echocardiogram helps to confirm whether the new valve is functioning properly.

Mitral Valve Replacement (MVR)

Surgical procedure- General anaesthesia is given to the patient before mitral valve replacement. Incision is made horizontally under the left breast, or vertically through the sternum. After exposing the heart, cannula is placed and blood is directed to the heart-lung machine for cardiopulmonary bypass. The mitral valve is exposed by creating an incision in the left atrium. Then the valve is replaced. Left atrium is closed and cardiopulmonary bypass is removed. The patient is taken to an intensive care unit after the surgery.

Recovery from Cardiac Valve Replacement

Postoperative complications and risks-

The most common complication after mitral valve replacement is atrial fibrillation. The other complications are bleeding and infection.

Benefits of heart valve replacement-

The patient can engage in his or her normal activities again. The replaced new valve will help the heart to function more efficiently.

Risks associated with heart valve replacement-

Blood clot formation can occur after surgery. These clots move to the lungs and cause shortness of breath and chest pain. Arrhythmias or abnormal heart beats can happen after surgery.

Follow up care-

Regular check-ups from a heart specialist is required after the surgery. The patient is instructed good diet and regular exercise in the follow up appointments.


Pros and cons of mechanical valves used in replacement

Pro’s of mechanical valves-

  • Less reoperation rates
  • Lasts for lifetime
  • Better survival rates

Con’s of mechanical valves-

  • Changes in doses of anticoagulant medication
  • Sleep disturbance due to noise of mechanical valve
  • Fluctuations in INR value.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of Spain / Why should opt for Spain as a destination for your medical treatment?
Spain has a uni payer healthcare system. This means that there is universal coverage for most of the expenses (excluding prescription drugs). One might have to wait for quite some time to avail of elective procedure treatment in Spain. Non-European travelers must have valid health insurance coverage to benefit from the hospitals in Spain. One can also avail of it on a residency visa. The private insurance system helps you to avail the benefits at monthly costs. The taxes in Spain are comparatively lower than those of other European countries. Hence, one can surely opt for this country for medical treatment.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in Spain? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals?
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety. Here are a few JCI certified hospitals in Spain :
  • Vithas Xanit International Hospital
  • Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud
  • Centro Médico Quironsalud Teknon
  • Hospital General de Catalunya
  • Instituto de Microcirugía Ocular (IMO Barcelona)
  • Sanitas Hospitales
  • Guttmann Institute
  • Instituto Balear de Oftalmología (IBO)
Are the doctors/surgeons in Spain of the best quality?
The hospitals in Spain are based on “el sistema national de salud” which provides high-quality care and medical centres, that is, “centros de salud”. This system has public and private healthcare systems, often within the same level. Since many countries send ex-pats here, one can even find an English speaking doctor very easily. Most doctors are adequately skilled and can handle the cases.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in Spain?
One has to apply for a Schengen Visa to gain entry into Spain for a medical purpose. The required documents when applying for a Schengen Visa for Medical Treatment are as follows:
  1. Visa application form.
  2. Two photos.
  3. Valid travel document/passport.
  4. A copy of your passport's data page.
  5. Roundtrip flight reservation.
  6. Travel Medical Insurance.
  7. Proof of accommodation
What support services does MediGence provide in Spain?
MediGence has been praised on a global scale for the list of services they provide. Apart from the listed services, the staff and the guides are adorned for their customer interaction, impromptu assistance, and various other assistance related guidance throughout the tour. Thus, the list of services provided by MediGence are:
  • Insurance query related guidance
  • In-detail guidance till completion of the medical tour
  • Visa Assistance
  • Free airport to hospital transfer
  • On-Ground Support
  • Teleconsultations
  • Accommodations Assistance
  • Rehabilitation and recovery services
Which are the best cities in Spain for medical treatment?
Spain has many cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Pamplona that have some of the best hospitals in Spain. Madrid has good hospitals for general and reproductive health facilities. Barcelona has hospitals specializing in child healthcare.

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