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Heart Valve Size – How Big Is A Heart Valve?

Posted by Adam Pick on October 31st, 2007

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.

Edwards Catheter Valve Replacement Size Comparison

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
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.

 


Gary says on June 30th, 2014 at 3:42 pm

i am an athlete. i swim, bike and freedive. I can’t seem to get an answer. I had AVR and IN RECOVERY they said the replacement was too small. The gradient was 77mm/Hg. And still was a month later. I get short of breath walking a couple of blocks. Looks like we have to do it again when i am fully recovered or i have to take drugs and not be energetic the rest of my life.
Don’t they do an interoperative echo on the table?
The only answer so far is “it seemed fine on the table”
I can’t live not exercising.

 


JB says on July 15th, 2014 at 8:17 am

Hi Adam,

In minimal invasive cardiac surgery, the surgeon will able to place a smaller mitral valve when compared to the traditional surgery?

Please clarify…

 

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