Jason’s 26 Year Old Bjork-Shiley Mechanical Valve Stays Put

One of the most common questions I get relates to the life expectancy of heart valve replacement devices. It’s a great question that fundamentally underlies a critical patient concern. That concern is the fear of a second cardiac surgery operation.

In prior blogs, I have written about the life expectancy of pig valves, cow valves and human donor valves. Earlier today, I received an interesting email from Jason about the longevity of his Bjork-Shiley mechanical heart valve replacement. Here is what Jason had to say:

“Hi Adam – I just came across your website. I had my aortic valve replaced in 1982, at 29 years of age. I have just found out that I need surgery for an aortic aneurysm, I’m 55 now. I have a Bjork-Shiley mechanical valve. I asked my surgeon if he would be replacing the valve while he was in there, since it is now 26 years old. I was surprised to hear that he wouldn’t be, unless there were problems with it. Thanks. Jason”

For those of you who had not heard about this valve replacement type before:

  • The Bjork-Shiley valve is a mechanical aortic heart valve prosthesis. Beginning in 1971, the valve replacement device has been used to replace the aortic or mitral valves. This mechanical valve marks the first example of a successfully used tilting-disc valve. It was manufactured first by Shiley Inc., then later by Pfizer after that company purchased Shiley.
  • The Bjork-Shiley heart valve was removed from the market as a result of safety concerns. The main concern was the risk of the outlet strut fracturing on the mechanical heart valve. The FDA created an expert panel to make recommendations by which patients should be recommended for prophylactic valve replacement.
  • More than 40,000 Americans had the Bjork-Shiley heart valves implanted. After the recall, not all Bjork-Shiley valves were removed from patients (Jason’s included). Depending on the patient’s risks during the surgical removal process, approximately 86,000 defective valves were left in patients with weak or defective heart valves.

I hope that explains a little more about the Bjork-Shiley heart valve replacement device.

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.

  • Julie

    Hello Mr. Adam,
    I am Julie from the Philippines and I have a prosthetic valve, bhrok-shiley mechanical valve that was implanted in my heart in December 10 1984. This December it will turn, 24 or 25 years old and I thought I had the oldest bjork-shiley valve without removal, extraction and implantation but I am now diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. I was dying when I went under the knife. It is my dire wish to meet Donald Shiley the maker of my valve and I think yours too. I had the chance to deliver my cardiac data at the University of San Diego last July 2008. I am now diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and just starting to write my book that has been in put off since 1987. I am so glad about your site. I hope I can come out with one here in my country. Thanks and my best regards and prayers. Julie

  • serge

    Hello Mr. Adam,
    I am Serge from the France and I have a prosthetic valve, bhrok-shiley mechanical valve that was implanted in my heart in Jun 15, 1978
    “She” OK now!
    Good Luck Friends..

  • pat tyler

    my husband had the bjork-shiley valve replaced 30yrs ago yesterday 6/1/2013 what is the longest a patient has lived with this valve

  • serge

    for me 35 years (19 july 1978)…I’m OK…old : 51
    Goog Luck !
    Serge (French)

  • Mary

    I have had my Bjork-shiley heart valve since April 22,1985
    I feel so blessed to still have it working. Been 28 years.

  • Jan Borla

    I have had my aortic valve replaced in 1984 with Bjoerk Shilley model 29ABP14920 in Eindhoven, Holland. Currently, I need to go for MRI test before urological operation. I am concerned, if MRI machine with 3.0T power will be safe for my artificial valve.
    Your kind clarification will be much appreciated


    Jan Borla

  • tommy king

    martha king has had a Bjork-Shiley valve since 5/4/74. i was 27years old when implanted. still working great.

  • Lynn

    My husband has a bjork schiely tilting disc valve implanted since 1973. It has been implanted 41 years. He is 55 years old. Dr George D’Angelo at Hamot Hospital in Erie PA did the surgery. My husband is well and works full time. He is followed by dr william stewart at the Cleveland Clinic in ohio.

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