What Is The Life Expectancy After Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?

I’m on day three of my work trip through Japan. So far, Tokyo is very impressive and… very crowded! I almost had a panic attack walking through the train stations this morning. So many people! I’ve since learned that Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world, with a population over 12 million.

Needless to say, the jet lag is still overwhelming considering I live in Los Angeles. That said, I’ve had some extra, early morning hours to dig through my inbox and answer some questions. I just received an interesting question about life expectancy after heart surgery. It reads, “Adam – Do you know what the life expectancy is for patients after heart valve surgery?”

That is a great question. Unfortunately, it is a very tough question to answer. As for life expectancy after heart valve surgery, it’s almost as difficult to answer, “How long will a mechanical mitral valve last?”

I say that because heart valve surgery is a relatively new area of medicine. Cardiac surgery, bypass operations, etc. have only really been around for thirty or forty years. For this reason, researchers are still developing their datasets as they track the lives of heart valve surgery patients.

However, there is some data about life expectancy after heart surgery that I just found at St. Jude Medicals One Valve For Life website. According to their research, “the mean age of patients presenting for valve surgery is increasing, as is the life expectancy following valve surgery.”

The data collected thus far is very encouraging, as shown above. I say that because, as a double heart valve surgery patient, I want to live as long as humanly possible! I’m just about to complete year two following my aortic and pulmonary valve replacements.

So you know… Last week, I received a very nice email from a patient who had her valve replaced 34 years ago. Yep. You read that right. 34 years!!!

I hope this helps you better understand life expectancy after heart valve surgery.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • srikanth vasireddy


    Thanks for the information provided. This helps boost ones confidence and helps a lot. Thanks again. There are no words to explain the confidence one gets.

  • Nagendra Tripathi


    The encouraging information that you provided gave me deep mental peace and certainty that my spouse WILL live long and we will grow old together and play with our grand children.

  • Muna

    Nagendra, you made me cry. I am crying now………..I hope that I will be able to grow older with my husband and will play with my grand children. I have mechanical valve for 14 years. I am speechless…..but thanks for the article, looks like I am going to live longer.

  • carolyn barney

    Great website Adam, thanks, imagine all the people you are helping!!
    I just found out that I have an insufficient aortic valve with reguritation of blood back into my left ventricle. Right now my symptoms are very mild, but I do have them, and I know at some point in the futrue I will need to undergo the replacement operation. I have read everywhere, and I am confused about life expectancy after valve replacement. Can we patients receive a second valve replacement, after many years of the first replacement working ?? One article said that this surgery is very rare. I would really like to know if I can only expect to live as long as the first original replacement lasts. Thank you, keep it up!!

  • Gail

    Adam, your website is an answer to my prayers. The last time I researched “life expectancy after valve replacement,” the information I gathered was less encouraging than your response. I’ve had a mitral valve repair that was followed 3 years later by a replacement with a St. Jude’s valve. Even though I exercise, try to eat right, and take medication, I still battle high blood pressure. This concerns me because I understand that hbp puts undue stress on the mechanical valve. The fear of a third surgery lurks in the back of my mind. However, I try to focus on the daily gift of life that God blesses me with each morning. With each new day, there’s the hope that new advancements in science will provide even more positive results for everyone with health issues. Thank you for passing on valuable information to all of us “valvers!” God bless…

  • Mary Hebard Loera

    I am coming up on 20 years with a St Jude 19mm aortic valve. I feel great and am 66 years old. I guess i will live another 20 years if the estimates are correct!!

  • David West

    I had a aorta valve & root replacement when I was 51 so I guess I will live another 29.9 years according to your Graph. Has anyone had the stainless steel Valve replaced just before the expected valve lifespan? Or even has this ever been attempted?

  • Arif Khan

    Thank you very much Adams. You are so Great. I am so glad to see your courage and encourages the others like me. Your story is just like me but the difference is that I am just 21 years old and you may be of 35. I am a student and wanna long live. God bless you and other Friends with heart surgery. Thanx a lot once again

  • Austin

    Hey Adam, I’m 28 and have had three open heart surgeries in my life. the third one last december, had my mitrol and aortic valves replaced. Mechanical double leaflet valves is what I got, my heart ticks like a high hat on a drumset creating intricate beats. Anyway, thought this post was interesting, I’m of course curious about my chances of living to a ripe old age. Truth is they don’t know you and I are a new emerging demographic, I had my first surgery when I was 6 months old. They look at me like I’m some rare gold mine of scientific knowledge. Everytime I go to see my doctor I got 2 to 3 newbs in the white checking out the rare specimen of congenital heart desease still going strong like the energizer bunny. Hit me up with some commentary man!

  • Sandra Graham

    I had my aortic valve replaced nearly 18 years ago when I was 42 years old. My surgeon implanted a St. Jude’s 21 mm valve. I have led a normal life since then. I have had very few complications. I manage my warfarin therapy by testing at home each week and reporting results to an anticoagulation clinic.

  • Jim

    I reached the age of 60 in April. The doctors are talking about valve replacement in October.
    I was informed that my Aortic bicuspid was actually a dual flap valve vice a three flap valve and apparently is strained to the point that I have developed a severe murmur and they believe I am requiring a replacement.
    They have mentioned four different types of replacements; cow, pig, cadaver, or mechanical. I have read a number of articles but am not able to determine which (if any) would be the best choice.
    An educated or experienced recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bob Lewis

    Had my Aortic valve replaced in 1987 at the age of 32 with a St. Jude mechanical valve. Now 26 years later I feel better than ever!

  • Sherry

    This post was so encouraging. I was very depressed after reading other studies that gave as little as five years life expectancy after alve replacement. My surgery was in October 2012 (bovine) and I am 60. The prospect of as little as five years was very disturbing. I know there are no guarantees but honestly I was thinking making plans for retirement were just hopeless dreaming. Maybe not. I was reasonably healthy before surgery and no serious physical complications after surgery. So hopefully I can look forward to living out a typical lifespan. I love this site and will always be grateful to Adam! God bless you always!

  • Jim

    I am 60 and have had a heart murmur for a few years. They are now saying that I have aortic stenosis and my valve needs to be replaced.
    I am encouraged by what I read; unfortunately I am unable to find any reference to doctors in the Seattle Washington area that are “the best”.
    I am guessing that the St Jude mechanical replacement size is based upon your heart size. The 19mm and 21 mm have great reviews, but being new to all this I wonder where I fit.

  • Bob Lewis

    26 years here with my St. Jude aortic valve!

  • Bob Lewis

    Jim ;
    Your surgeon will determine the size valve that you need

  • Jim

    Thanks Mr. Lewis

  • Lisa C

    Thank you for answering this question! I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and after just celebrating my 6th year anniversary of receiving a mechanical mitral valve at the young age of 41, it’s something that has had me worried beyond belief! I’m hoping that this lasts another 40-50 more years – the “ticking like a Timex watch” the rest of my life beats the “alternative”….God Bless!!

  • Jacqueline Mongeot

    I had 3 valves replaced :aortic- mitral -tricuspid all at the same time, in July 2011 at age 87. I feel fine, exercise regularly in a swimming pool (water aerobics). I take the prescribed meds, avoid fatty foods; my diet consists of vegetables, fruit and mostly Chicken, turkey and fish, drink coffee, diluted fruit juice, water and 4 oz wine a day. Yet, I recently noticed I get out of breath more often (walking, climbing stairs). I just turned 90. I wonder how long these new 3 valves will last, not that I want to live forever, but just curious on what to expect and be prepared. Any idea?

  • michael greene

    Can you please tell me if there are any special musical tapes to help one relax and go to sleep. I have heard from others that some people run their vacuum cleaners to drown out the clicking noise of mechanical heart valves. Thank You Michael

  • Brian

    St. JUDE@ 51 in 2012. Dr. Said valve will last 300 years and my life expectancy shouldn’t be any different than it would if I had a normal heart. I plan 9 living until at least 100, up from my 98 prediction prior to the surgery in 2012!

  • Sherry Bradford

    Jacquelyn – congrats on hitting 90, I just want to encourage you to have yourself checked. Don’t let anyone tell you “that’s to be expected at your age”! There are lots of causes for shortness of breath that are not related to your heart – some serious and some not serious. But find out! You are doing such great things for your overall health that I am envious and in awe! All the best!

    Sherry (aortic valve replacement and aneurism repair, bovine valve, October 2012)

  • LisaC

    Michael – I don’t know of any tapes, but I put my television on a timer each
    Night – whether it’s a program or music station and I use a fan on low – it does help you fall asleep with a little ‘noise’ other than the ticking! Hope it helps! Good Luck!

  • Jacqueline Mongeot

    I see my cardiologist about every 6 weeks at his request. He always seems happy with the results of his examination. Shortness of breath is not a huge concern for me; after all I am not that young anymore. Before surgery I walked 2 miles in 30 minutes at least 4 times a week; I cannot do this anymore. I do not walk as fast and I need to stop more often. Age is surely a factor. Anyway I do not worry about it. I am happy to be able to walk, to take care of myself and to live without help, to be able to drive and above all NOT to be a burden to my children. Let’s count our blessings- My father died at age 60 before by pass surgery existed. So much progress in cardio surgery!
    Good luck to all of you.

  • David

    How did you know she is 90? She did not give her age.

  • David

    These comments sounds like a St. jude’s commercial.

  • rohit

    Hello every one I m from India and suffers rhd from 1996 and doctors diagnosed mild mitral and moderate aortic regurgitation I want to know anyone that at what age I need valve transplant is this is possible that this condition remain as it is in my life span ….share your views who had replace the valve transplant after chronic rhumetic heart disease….

  • Jitendra chuadhary

    My age 26 I heart three valve disease after surgery me lifespan

  • bennypat

    I just had valve replacement and I went with the bovine valve (cow). It’s only been a couple months and it feels scary sometimes when my chest starts aching but I’m trying to keep an over all good attitude about it. Fake it till I make it.

  • Amy Alderson

    I was born with a hole between the chambers of the heart, and had surgery at the age of 20 months (1970). My mitral valve was deformed, but ran out of time to fix it, as all of this was very new back in 1970. In 1999, I had endocarditis, and could not figure out why, because I always took antibiotics before I went to the dentist. In 2000, I got it AGAIN! I was soooo sick!!! Finally found out that I had impacted and infected wisdom teeth, so out they came! In 2006, I started getting short of breath, and to my surprise, the endocarditis had calcified my mitral valve, so I received a new St. Jude’s mechanical valve at Emory Hospital. Here it is 2015, and I’m fine! I also gave birth to three healthy boys in 94, 96, and 2000! I go to the doctor once a year, and am fixing to have a heart MRI to see if the hole that they patched in 1970 may be leaking, but nothing serious, I don’t think….

  • William Newton

    I had aortic valve replacement 29 years ago and I have lived a very active life so far. Lately I am dealing with AFib which may be related to the surgery so many years ago, but I am being treated today and I look forward to a long future ahead.

  • Michael A Rose

    7 years so far with St Jude valve. Coumadin is no fun! I can tell a difference in my heart valves capability to keep up with strenuous exercise. The worst part is the never ending clicking in my ears! I only wish they can make them quieter. Even in business meetings people hear my heart clicking and say something.

  • Michael A Rose

    The only thing that helps my clicking noise is keeping my BP low. If anyone else has any other onfo please let me know.

  • Rahul Kamble

    My father is suffering from aortic & mitral …. Dr told that they have too replace but 19mm valve will not give best results … Plz some give the information

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