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How Long Does A Mechanical Mitral Valve Replacement Last?

Posted by Adam Pick on October 4th, 2007

Finally, somewhat of an easy question… (You guys have been tough on me lately!)

Well, not really. :)

Let me explain….

There is a pretty standard answer to the question, “How Long Does A Mechanical Mitral Valve Last?”

St. Jude Mechanical Valve

In fact, the durability of a mechanical mitral valve is one of the biggest advantages of selecting a mechanical valve versus a pig valve (porcine valve), cow valve (bovine valve) or human valve (donor) for heart valve replacement surgery. To learn more about mechanical valves, click here.

The trade-off for the long-lasting life of the mechanical mitral valve, however, is the ongoing use of Coumadin (blood thinners) and the potential sound of a mechanical valve.

That said, a mechanical mitral valve can is reported to last between 20 to 25 years. Some suggest that the life of a mechanical mitral valve may even be longer.

You have to remember two things. First, heart valve replacement surgery is a relatively new medical procedure. It’s only been within the past 30 to 40 years that heart surgery has become a standardized medical procedure.

Second, you need to remember that mechanical mitral valves are made of very durable materials including titanium. Thus, there is some uncertainty as to how long the mechanical mitral valves may last in the human body. It may very well be longer than the 20 to 25 years referenced above.

I hope that helps answer the question, “How long does a mechanical mitral valve last?”

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.

 


Nikki says on March 3rd, 2008 at 12:11 pm

My brother is about to undergo his 3rd heart valve replacement within 10 yrs. His first was a mechanical valve, his second was a pig valve, The pig valve lasted longer than his first one. I cannot find an easy understanding of His survival percentage for this third time around on the internet. Im wondering if you can lead me to a website that mite be easy to follow and understand all that he is about to go through. He is only 35yrs old. 5 ft 8 in. and weighs about 175/185 lbs. If you can help me out great, Thank you.

 


lolly turbi says on April 29th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I am a woman living with a mechanical mitral valve for the past 13 years. I will be 33 this year and need to know if it is possible for me to become a mother without the risk of mitral valve failure? all of the patients I come in contact with are either too old or too young. I know that it will be high risk and that I will have to have a team of doctors around me through out the entire pregnancy but I need to know if this is something that can actuall y be a reality for me or should I not consider this and move on? please let me know.

Thanks
Lolly

 


Karen Gruppelaar says on May 6th, 2009 at 10:25 am

Hi Lolly, don’t give up hope!!!

I am 45 years old and have had 2 aortic valve replacements, the first when I was 28 years old, they gave me a tissue valve which did not need medication(warfarin), being a female and would probably want to have children, this was the best option, after a year this valve leaked so was then given a titanium valve, which was my only option and have been on warfarin for 18 years, I fell pregnant at 37, my doctor told me we would work thru this, as worried as I was as I knew there is a high risk of taking warfarin when you are pregnant, the outlook is not good, but continued on with my pregnancy scared to death. Normally a pregnant woman taking warfarin is taken off this and given heparin, with the warfarin being such a danger to baby, in my circumstances they could not take me off the warfarin, I had to continue taking it and hope for the best and remained positive throughout the whole ordeal. I was finally given heparin. which I had to inject into my stomach, 2 days before my caeserean, at 33 weeks, still scared to death all turned out for the best, I had a healthy 5pound 2oz baby boy, 7 weeks early, he would have been big if I had gone full term, he is now nearly 7 and we have not looked back. He has had no problems and nor have I(touch wood), I have now had this titanium valve for 18 years and I can still hear it and sick of taking warfarin and having blood tests, but what can I do, I am forever grateful I have got my son, I have been told I can’t have any more, but we have both got out lives, what more could you ask for

I wish you all the best and all things are possible, remaining positive is a big factor

 


john a. gaines says on June 24th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I am now 68 years old, and had a aortic valve replacement on 3/7/77. The valve is a Star-Edwards. For a number of years, I have wondered how long it would last until recently when I had a angiographm and the report was that the valve looks very clean and good. The problem I have had is that the current doctors were in grade school when the valve was replaced, so do not know what to expect with a 32 year old one. I would be interested in any history you may be aware of. John

 


Elizabeth Borjas says on July 12th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Hi everyone.

I was happy to find this site. It is good to have support and read the experiences others are going through. I had a mitral valve replacement at 41. I am now 51. It was replaced with a titanium St. Jude valve. For the most part, everything has gone fine except this weekend.

I had a stroke Friday, July 10th. I thank God that there was no damage to my body. My brain was damaged but the doctor said it can heal and that is what I am praying for.

The most important thing is to live as normal a life as possible, but to be educated and be your own medical activist. I know now that my protime numbers have to be on the higher end of my range which is 2.5 – 3.5. When I had the stroke it was at 2.3, and had been there a couple of weeks.

My cholestrol was not bad but it was at the higher end of my range. Because I had a stroke I have to get it down to the lower range. I am 51. So those of you who are my age – watch your cholestrol and pro-time ranges.

I still have some test this week, but I am thankful there was no neurological damage. The doctors said it was a miracle and I pray all of you who have gone through what I have are healthy and happy. Life is good. Take care of yourselves. Elizabeth

 


Donna Pulvirenti says on September 3rd, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Back in 1982, I had mitral valve repair. In 1993, my mitral valve needed to be replaced. Because I wanted to start a family, I opted for the porcine (tissue valve). I delivered two healthy babies (when I was 37 & 39). My pregencies went extremely well. Since then, I developed atrial fibrillation. I was put on coumadin and soalatol(sp).

Last month (July 23rd to be exact) I had emergency heart valve replacement surgery (this time mechanical – AST). I did not know I was going into congestive heart failure since I routinely had my INR tested, check ups, etc. The doctors could not explain it, just that my valve was extremely damaged and had blood clots forming behind my heart. Thank god everything turned out perfectly. I am home back with my family and grateful for the wonderful doctors/surgeons at NY Presb. Hospital in NYC.
Only drawback – I hear the clicking of the valve – not all the time- and the surgeon said the AST mechanical valve is the quietest and enventually I should not even hear it. Besides taking coumadin, watching what I am eating (not too much Vitiamin K) and living a healthy life, I can deal with the clicking!

 


Matt says on September 3rd, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Hey everyone,

I had a aortic valvotomy at age 2
Aortic valve replacement at age 8 (mechanical Bjork Shiley)
Aortic valve replacement at age 12 (mechanical St. Jude bi-flap valve)

I’ve now had the St. Jude for 26 years without any issue. pressure across the valve has stayed fairly constant and still only have trace regurg from it. I’ve asked about the life of the valve and been told a number of things but my surgeon about a month ago told me (I was getting a surgical consult on replacing my mitral valve now…yay!) when he recommened ST. Jude again that through simulations in lab testing that valve has an estimated lifespan of 300 years. I found that kind of comforting.

 


Patricia Payton says on October 1st, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Hi, I had a Sy Jude mitral valve in 1994, Iwas 50 years old, I am now 65, I had 2 ablations because of atrial fib… Its always good to read about others. I had a couple mini strokes, but noting serious so far!! Thanks To God!!!! Good Luck to all of you that areon coumadin, its hasnt bother me , you have to know your limitations is all, Sincel, Patricia

 


Tonya Key says on January 30th, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I have a 11 year old daughter. She was born with AV can defect. That was a easy fix at 4 months old. Then at 18 months they realized her mitral valve was defromed and replaced it with a mechanical. That one lasted 5 years. We are approaching her 12th birthday and I am wondering if it’s gonna be time again to replace it. They told us they had put in the smallest adult size, a St.Jude. She often ask if she will ever be able to be a mommy? Heart breaking but she knows it is always a risk. Glad to find this site.

 


Bruce says on March 7th, 2010 at 9:54 am

I developed Bacterial Endocarditis in 1998, from Strep. I knew I had prolapse, but did not know why I was so sick for 3 months. I went to my doctor who sent to the hospital on 02/03/1999 and I received a Medtronic-Hall mechanical Mitral Valve on 02/18/2009. So far, as of today, 03/07/2010, the valve is in good condition. I do have a small amount of leakage and I am having an Echo tomorrow to see what else might me happening. Like others, I have had several small strokes, but no significant damage. I still have the blood pressure, cholesterol, atrial flutter, warfarin issues.

Beth of health to all!

 


Charlie Grech says on March 23rd, 2010 at 2:52 pm

8 years ago (I was 58 years old) had a aortic valve replacement, now the surgeon who still looks after me found that the mitral is stenosed and that I need to be operated to replace the mitral valve, I am very worried, I am now 66 years old. Has anyone been to the same trouble as I am now?.
Please help.
Thanks

 


Serge says on April 22nd, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Hi Adam,
Had the aortic valve replaced in 1999 and still ticking…

 


Gill says on May 4th, 2010 at 6:03 am

Hi
I had Bacterial Endocarditis in 1998 and had the mitral and tricuspid valves replaced with Bjork-Shiley ones. I thought they would last forever, but my consultant has told me that they will need replacing one day. How do you know when they need replacing, is it a gradual thing or a sudden collapse?

 


baba says on August 20th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

1. TELL ME WHAT MATERIAL IS MIX FOR MADE MECHANICAL VALVE. BECAUSE I HAD UNDERGONE OPEN HEART SURGERY OF DOUBLE VALVE REPLACEMENT DURING 11/2008. BOTH MITRAL AND AORTIC VALVEREPLACEMENT.

2. WHAT IS PROTHROMBIN TEST? FOR WHAT PURPOSE THIS LAB TEST UNDERTAKEN . WHENEVER I AM GOING FOR ROUTINE PERIODICAL MEDICAL CHECK UP

3. i AM REGULARLY TAKING MEDICINES OF CARDARONE, DIGOXIN TABLETS, WARFROM 7 MG ONE TOME IN THE MORNING. KINDLYTELL ME WHETHER IT IS NECESSARY TO TAKE

4. FOR WHAT PURPOSE/SAFETY/ DISCREPENCY THESE MEDICINES MEDICINES TAKE DAILY THROUGHOUT LIFE OR NOT?

BY

BABA

 


Rob says on August 26th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

My wife has had her original Mitral valve replacement for 40 years next March. I would be interested if anyone knows whether this is a record.

 


kathy says on September 28th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Hi there. My mother, age 70, has had a star mitral valve for 28 years! We are all concerned about the life of the valve and are anxious to pre-empt any complications that can arise. Do you know what these complications can look like…if the valve gives out? Also, since she’s getting older, we think replacement surgery might be better now instead of in 5-10 years. But, if we can avoid surgery that, of course, is best. They just took a look at her heart and the valve is functioning great at the moment. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

 


clyde says on December 2nd, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I had mitro valve (st jude) 1994 and x4 by-pass I have been well all considered. I am now facing gall bladder surgery shortly. Thinners and clots are my main concern. Hard to find any answers as to what I am really facing. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

 


kathy says on January 5th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

On a related question: My mother has had a (star) mitral valve for 26 years. All is generally well on the heart front. In order to be PROACTIVE, what would you recommend? Look into replacing now or what till a problem arises and hope it’s not too late??

We recognize this is somewhat uncharted territory but there must be some research on the need for a replacement valve after 25 years and what complications to watch out for.

Thank you so much!

 


jeff says on January 15th, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi everyone i had a bjork shiley aortic valve surgery back in April 1985 in Albany Medical Center Albany New York I was 33 at the time I am now going on 59 my cardioligist said everything sounds good it is such a small tradeoff by taking coumadin which keeps me alive i was a very active young man playing sports with my buddies and working hard and knowing what the risks are bleeding from cuts bruising when getting hit not eating to much dark green veggies so on and so on, I had 6 operations between my right and left knee plus my left ankle was scoped out from a sports injury back in 1988 what i am trying to say is go about your life just use common sense and don’t be afraid of what you want to do or need to do because of your valve replacement as for how lonr this valve will last my cardo doesn’t really have an precise time it could go 5 0r 10 years or it could go next year 2012.So everyone live your life and enjoy yourself while we are still here we all have been through a lot recovering from our surgeries,(which was no walk in the park)GOD BLESS EVERYONE WHO POSTED ON THIS PAGE STAY STRONG AND LIVE HEALTHY GOD BLESS

 


Johnny says on February 10th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Hi everyone I have a mitral and aortic valve replacement at the age of 20 years old I am now 39 years old and I am more active today then I was then I work out every day and live a normal life only thing I do not like is being on warfin but when I asked a doctor how long will these valves last he stated well until my old age or even longer…

 


Rodger says on February 20th, 2011 at 8:09 am

I had my first aortic valve replacment in 1979 (bovine was used – I was 22). The bovine aortic was replaced with a St. Jude mechanical in 1993 along with the mitral valve (I was 37 at the time). I’m now 54 and only take coumadin. I do almost anythin I want to do but I don’t do much extended exercise (like biking, running or swimming). But I do hunt (I can walk 5 miles without problems) garden, cut firewood and mow the lawn with a push mower.

Recently had a my periodic echo cardiagram and they said the numbers look just like they did 4 years ago (but they did say don’t stay away so long – come back in 2 years).

I have five kids ranging in age from 29 to 5 so I hope these valves last a good bit longer.

 


Jorge Ortiz says on February 21st, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Hi..
Due to an Atrial Septum Defect (ASD) which was identified some 20 years ago, my mitral valve was damaged beyond repair. This was due to the pressure differences between the heart chambers (specially the left atrium and left ventricle). After grueling USAF deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, the MD’s at the VA Center at my hometown suggested mitral valve replacement (MVR), (due to severe regurgitation). After some consultations and tests I decided to endure this life changing surgery. The Thoracic surgeon I chose explained in detail what I was going to go through and what to expect. Of the 3 alternatives given, the mechanical seemed the best choice. The pig valve and the human valve both meant that I had to take prescriptions for tissue rejection (not to mention any other diseases that could surface with a human or animal tissue). The drawback with the mechanical valve was the Coumadin intake to keep the International Normalized Ratio (INR) between 2.5 and 3.5 for my age, weight and height. The MD mentioned, as the literature that came with the valve did also, that this On-X valve “should” last some 25-30 years, as long as the Coumadin regiment, diet and exercise were followed. Reoperation for pig and human valves through experience has been set at 10-15 years. To me it was a “no-brainer”!
So, in Aug 3 2009, I underwent an ASD repair and a surgical replacement of my mitral valve (MVR) (On-X 25-31mm). To my surprise, I was home 4 days after surgery… a little dizzy but home! The recuperation phase was bothersome because of the pain in my chest… But what a change….! Quality of life has drastically changed for the better. The only limitation I have encountered is when I exercise; I have to watch out when kneeling for extended periods of time due to blood flow restrictions due to the mechanical valve. This valve does not react as the human valve and it takes a few seconds to normalize the blood flow to the body…. HOWEVER… I would not change a thing!
Oh, and for those worried about the scar…. only a very faint 4 inch scar smack in the middle of the sternum… it is almost invisible by now!
My only regret is not having it done earlier. Now, after a year and a half later, I feel terrific, looking forward to my military retirement.
There are a lot of great thoracic surgeons in the States… and a lot of advances in surgery help us in walking through this delicate journey.
Please, if you have a condition that requires a heart valve replacement, look for information and advice. Educate yourselves and make a life choice… by educating yourselves in your specific situation, you will feel much more comfortable by making a sound and educated decision.
Before going through with the surgery, I sped through Adam’s book at least 4-5 times. It faded some of my doubts and better yet, I found out that I was not alone in this endeavor! That was nice to know… it was very comforting indeed. Nowadays, people are more open to talk about these procedures… people like Robin Williams, Charlie Rose and Barbara Walters (to name a few), did go through with the procedure and they talk about it all the time… I laughed myself to tears when I heard Robin Williams speak of his operation with David Letterman… his style and way of explaining such a delicate operation blew my mind… but it was all so true.
So, please talk to your MD’s, and educate yourselves… there are no stupid questions… (The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!). When going to see a Doc, make a list of all your doubts and fears… and go through the list with your MD.
Also, there’s a lot of good info on the “net”… do the research… involve your family and friends, let them know your fears… remember they will also be affected by your decision and eventually they will be your support team before, and once you are recuperating.
Like Spock says… Live Long and Prosper!
Salud..
George

 


Denise says on June 12th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I am getting two mechanical valves and a valve repair in september. Just wondering is there someone out there that has also been thru having two mechanical valves replaced? I am a female that just turned 50 in march of 2011.

 


Junee says on December 26th, 2011 at 12:59 am

Hello, I am almost 48 years old and looking at possibly having my 5th open
Heart surgery. My first was at age 1 with a patent-ductus. Age 6 Dr. Denton Cooley in Houston, TX did a dilation etc.
Then in 1992 at age 29 I had my aortic valve replaced with a porcien(human valve) at UC Davis. Very long survey as I had calcification and they had thawed the wrong size out and had to get another valve. In 2001 I
Fell sick with pneumonia and step and was at death door according to the doctor. After 6 weeks of antibiotics I had BOTH aortic and mitral valve replaced with titanium in Reno Nevada. My valves tick very loud. ;) at least they tick. There is a high gradient over both cables and they have leakage. Aortic had a trace from the get go but much more now. Dr should have put the next size bigger in. I NOW have an aneruiseum in my aorta. Found in Nov 2010. It grew pretty fast this year. Surgeon told me for anyone else he would operate now. However, they are not so sure of mu survival rate. Lots of calcification, veins have fused to sternum and this would be #5. the aneriisym is 4.7 on the arch area.

Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations? I sincerely would appreciate any. I just became a grandmother of natural triplets and want to see them and my nieces and nephews grow!

 


Kimberly says on January 1st, 2012 at 6:52 am

My daughter was 13 months old when she went under her 2nd open heart. It was to replace her mitral valve with a St.Judes mechanical valve. When she went under this surgery she had a stroke either during or right after surgery. She will be 7 in April, so far so good every heart appointment as gone good, no changes, still is like when she first got it. I GET VERY nervous when she has to go under and get it replaced if she or what will happen or can she stroke again. It was rare that it happened. We almost lost her she had to be on her warfin due to the valve, we didn’t want it to clot because she would not have made it thru another heart surgery, but she couldn’t be on her blood thinner due to the possibility of the stroke bleeding. This was May 2006 she had to go under emergency craniotomy 3 days after her heart surgery. Like I said she is DOING wonderful, weak on the right side, no usage of her right hand. I’m glad I found this page, because I do have a question for any female. This is kinda personal but what are your periods like (I know she has a few years till that) are they a lot more heavier? I’ve asked her doctors but the are males and get kinda embarrassed when I ask, lol. They just say she young yet…… I’m glad to hear about your pregnancies too, we are far from baby talk but I really hope that is something she can experience when she is older.

 


Matt Stanyard says on January 27th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I had a Titanium Mitral valve implanted in October 2011, it works fine but my INR level is all over the place and the pain after initially subsiding is getting worse, is this usual although I feel loads better, the pain gets worse and all I get told is make sure I take my warfarin 5mg per day, look to my diet and take my pain killers but now my chest is getting very tender to touch even moreso than after I had it done, is this normal, any answers appreciated.

Thank You

 


Darien Woods says on February 9th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

My mother has an Starr Edwards Ball-In-Cage mitral valve put in when she was 5 years old (1964), that same valve is still in her and she has not had any problem with it after birthing 3 kids. This valve now has been working for 46 years and counting.

 


kalie says on April 24th, 2012 at 2:29 am

I’ve had my Bijork-Shiley mitral valve since 1981 at age 25 after having strep endocarditis. Little problems along with way…bleeding once with transfusion, TIA, A-fib/flutter but doing great, just keep going. Work full-time as an RN and also back in school.

 


Timothy Paul Dulalia says on June 27th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Hi! Im Tim from the Philippines! I have a mitral valce replacement since when I was 14years old and we’ve spend over 1million peso for my medication that’s including the operation and the medication, My mother and Father were forced to sell our House and Lot for a very cheap price just for me to undergo with the operation.

Today is June 27, 2012 and 12days more I’ll be turning 23 and after that 1 year to go i’ll be turning 24. My Doctor told me that my valve needs to be replaced every 10 years but my worry is not the operation, not my life, not the fear of entering the opearting with whole bunch of cast of Angels and Demos ( hahahaha ) but the point is. Im worried because I don’t any money to perform the said surgery, Im too afraid to see that my Mother is going every house in our place to ask for help and to ask for help as well to our relatives, Im afraid to see the sacrificial of my two little sisters who studying and Im very afraid to see that my mom is crying because she don’t have any money to pay for the hospital.

We just have a simple life , my father is a drug addict, my mom is a business woman and she is just selling foods in different houses near our area, the only person who is sustaining our family needs is me which is working in a BPO industry as a call center agent and just receiving Php15,000 per month. Yes I could sustain my family needs but what about for their future? what will happen if i cannot survice the operation? OR if i’ll survive? who’s gonna sustain my medication? who’s gonna for those person that we are begging to help us? is it? is it my mom AGAIN who were exerting her very best effort just to let me survive?

Im very transparent with this guys, I let you know the background of my family, I know that there are persons in this earth that can help me with my operation. If you know some foundations were i could beg for a help, please do let me know, or if God is knocking your heart please do message me through my contact #’s

+639261897100 ( mobile number )
timdulalia@yahoo.com ( personal email )
timothypaul.dulalia@ph.aegisglobal.com ( business email )

Thank you so much for a very optimistic response!

 


Katherine says on July 23rd, 2012 at 2:48 pm

My husband had a titanium valve and mesh aorta in 2000. He is hospitalized with bacteria on the valve and was told that he should have his valve replaced, but the odds are against him this time. He has Marfans and his chance of making through another surgery like this is slim.

 


Jessica Plummer says on August 11th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Ive went thru open heart surgry im goimg on 7 yrs. They replaced my Mitral . Ivalve with the titanum St Judes. My surgeon told me it last a life time. Im good to go to see my grand kids Im 29 yrs old. How long does it really last and will i have to get it replaced

 


Dana Huffman says on January 15th, 2014 at 7:47 am

I have a Bjork- Shiley valve that was implanted when I was 31 on 3-23-83. I am curious as to any others who have had one this long. I needed it after getting bacterial endocarditis after a teeth cleaning. (No antibiotics were prescribed) I would love to know that I won’t be needing is replaced? Any help?

 


Steph says on February 2nd, 2014 at 8:04 am

My mum has both aortic and mitral replacements (mechanical)… However has now gone into atrial fibrillation.

Does anybody know if this means her valves are coming to an end… what does this mean!?!?

Please help

 


Jessica Plummer says on March 24th, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Hi Im 7 yrs out with a Mitral Valve replacement with the St Judes Titanum Valve. My doctor told me that these last a life time. I was good to to see my grandkids.(my kids r 10 and 7) i had open heart surgry after i had my youngest. This is mt biggest concern. Bc my kids need me. Will this vavle really last this long?

 


Dana Huffman says on March 24th, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Jessica, I just celebrated 31 years with this mechanical mitral valve yesterday. I hope that helps! The newer ones are supposed to even better than the ones used in 1983. Live long, my friend, and keep ticking!!

 

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