Heart Valve Size – How Big Is A Heart Valve?
I just received a fantastic question. The question reads, “Adam… Do you know how big our heart valves are?”
The interesting thing… In all my research about heart valves… In all my interviews with patients, nurses, cardiologists and surgeons, I have never specifically found a specific answer to that question.
“Why?” you may be thinking to yourself.
Well. Consider that we are all different. We have different heights, different weights, different eyes, different hair, different teeth and different ears.
The same holds true for our heart valves. That said, we can make assumptions about ranges of heart valve sizes by looking at a human heart diagram that is closely drawn to scale. To see a heart diagram, click here.
However… From our research, we know that the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve are roughly about the same size in a human heart. And, we know that the pulmonary valve and the aortic valve are about the same size.
Now, it comes down measurements of heart valve size. Again, I have scrubbed the web looking for ranges of heart valve size. I have found some data. But, I have yet to find anything that details just how big or little heart valves can be. If you have any thoughts please leave a comment in my feedback section below.
However, I recently came across an interesting picture of an Edwards’ valve replacement sitting next to a dime. As you can see, the size of a dime is roughly the size of an aortic valve replacement. (FYI, this is a new catheter-based aortic valve replacement.)
So there you have it!!! Well, at least for an aortic and pulmonary valve. A dime, by the way is 2.5 cm^2, or 2.5 centimeters squared. That measurement is the surface area of the dime.
For more specific data about the normal size of an aortic valve, please click here.
But remember, there is a lot of variance of heart valve size. When / if you need valve replacement surgery, your surgeon will have several different valve sizes available when he fits you for your new heart valve during surgery.
I’ll never forget Dr. Vaughn Starnes response to my question, “So… You’re going to have several different valve sizes in the operating room waiting to fit me?” My surgeon looked at me and simply said, “Yes!”.
I hope this helps you understand more about heart valve size.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.