Skip to Content

Aortic Valve Surgery at UPMC in Central Pa.

The cardiovascular specialists at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute provide expert treatment for aortic valve disease using minimally invasive and open-chest techniques for aortic valve repair and replacement.

Why choose UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute for aortic valve surgery?

The cardiologists and surgeons at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute are among the most experienced in Central Pennsylvania at performing aortic valve surgery. And, our surgeons are pioneers in performing and studying the latest minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat aortic valve disease.

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute regularly participates in advanced clinical trials for innovative procedures such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which allows our surgeons to replace your aortic valve using a special catheter that is inserted through a small incision in your groin or your left chest area.

What is aortic valve disease?

Your aortic valve regulates blood flow from your heart to your aorta, which is the largest artery in your body. Aortic valve disease occurs when your aortic valve does not work properly. This can be caused by:

  • Aortic valve stenosis. Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of your aortic valve that limits blood flow.
  • Aortic valve regurgitation. Aortic valve regurgitation is caused by a weakness in your valve that prevents it from closing completely. Regurgitation causes blood that is pumped out of your heart to immediately flow back into your heart after your heart stops squeezing and relaxes.

What is aortic valve surgery?

Aortic valve surgery treats problems with your aortic valve caused by aortic valve disease. It can be performed using traditional open-chest or minimally invasive approaches.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may repair or replace your aortic valve. Your doctor's recommendation to repair or replace your aortic valve is based on many factors, including your general health, the condition of your damaged valve, the presence of other health conditions, and the expected benefits of surgery.

Aortic Valve Repair or Reconstruction

Although the aortic valve is usually replaced, aortic valve repair surgery may be an option. The goal of aortic valve repair surgery is to restore your aortic valve to its full function.

Because aortic valve repair involves using your own tissue, there is a lower risk of valve failure and other complications. Also, you will not need to take blood thinning medications, which are required when mechanical aortic valve replacements are used.

Certain conditions, such as a bicuspid aortic valve, may be repaired by reshaping your aortic valve leaflets, allowing the valve to open and close more completely. Bicuspid aortic valve repair may be an option to treat leaking valves, but it cannot be used to treat a stenotic, or narrowed, bicuspid aortic valve.

Experts at UPMC also perform the Ozaki aortic valve replacement procedure using tissue from the sac around your heart. Learn more about this innovative technique. 

Aortic Valve Replacement

If aortic valve repair surgery is not an option, your surgeon may replace your aortic valve with a plastic or metal mechanical valve, or a bioprosthetic valve, which is usually made from pig tissue.

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Aortic Valve Disease

Our surgeons have the skills and experience required to successfully perform aortic valve repair and replacement using advanced minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive procedures access your valve through much smaller incisions without cutting your breastbone. The benefits of these minimally invasive approaches include:

  • Less pain
  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Shorter recovery time

Our surgeons offer the latest minimally invasive treatment options for aortic valve disease, including:

  • Intercostal surgical aortic valve replacement (iSAVR). Aortic valve replacement surgery can be performed using iSAVR, which is a minimally invasive approach that allows your surgeon to access your heart through the space between your ribs without dividing any major muscle groups, ribs, or cartilage.
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). TAVR treats aortic valve stenosis by replacing your aortic valve with a bioprosthetic valve using a catheter inserted into your groin or your left chest area.

What happens during aortic valve surgery?

Depending on the type of procedure you are having, you may be placed under general anesthesia or connected to a heart-lung bypass machine that will take over the function of your heart and lungs during your operation.

If you need aortic valve repair surgery, your doctor will provide you with more detail about the approach he or she plans to use before surgery. The specific approach your doctor recommends will depend on your condition.

During aortic valve replacement surgery, your damaged valve will be cut out and the new valve will be sewn into place. Your doctor may perform a minimally invasive procedure or an open-chest surgery, depending on your condition.

If you also have a condition called an aortic aneurysm, which is an enlargement in your ascending aorta near your aortic valve, your doctor may also perform a procedure to repair or replace the diseased portion of your aorta.

What can I expect after aortic valve surgery?

When the procedure is completed, you will be moved to recovery for observation and monitoring. Your doctor will provide more information about your recovery.

How long does it take to recover after aortic valve surgery?

Most otherwise healthy patients continue to lead active, normal lives after aortic valve surgery. Your doctor will provide more information about your recovery after aortic valve surgery and will let you know when you can resume your normal activities.

If you receive a mechanical aortic valve replacement, you will need to take blood-thinning medication after aortic valve surgery. You should follow your doctor's instructions and go to all of your follow-up appointments.

Need more information?

Call the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at 1-855-275-6478

Request Information.


UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Brady Building
205 South Front Street
4th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17104

Phone: 717-231-8555
Fax: 717-231-8568   

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (formerly Cardiac Consultants)
1697 Crown Avenue
Suite 100
Lancaster, PA 17601

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
12 Saint Paul Drive
Suite 205
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Adult Cardiology: 717-217-6881
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-217-6889

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Outpatient Services at UPMC Memorial
1703 Innovation Drive
Suite 4120
York, PA 17408

Heart and Vascular: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

Connect with the UPMC Central PA Portal app 24/7

The UPMC Central PA Portal provides patients with convenient and secure access to their health information right at their fingertips. View test results. Get virtual care. Message your care team. Schedule and manage appointments. And much more.

Log-In or Sign Up Today

Contact UPMC

When it comes to health care for you and your family, UPMC is here. It's easy to find the right doctor, health screenings, programs, classes, and more.

Contact UPMC in central Pa.