Does Exercising Wear Out An Artificial Heart Valve Faster?

After evaluating the pros and cons of mechanical and bioprosthetic heart valve replacements, it appears that Stephanie has opted for an artificial heart valve replacement.

Stephanie writes, “Hi Adam – Given my age, health, love for exercise and desire not to repeat open heart surgery, I believe I am going to request an artificial heart valve replacement when I have surgery next month. However, I have one lingering question for you. Does exercising wear out an artificial heart valve faster over the patient’s lifetime?

While I do not have any clinical data for Stephanie, my gut tells me the answer to this question is probably no. I don’t think that exercise impacts (or wears out) an artificial valve for two reasons:

Again, these are anecdotes and my own personal opinion. That said, I would strongly encourage you to speak with your surgeon about this topic (exercise and artificial heart valves) to learn more.

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

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  • Hal

    This was one of my questions. I had a tissue aortic valve replacement 7/16/07. Both my surgeon and my cardiologist recommended a tissue valve(cow) because I was a runner and a cyclist. Bike crashes and blood thinners. How would you answer the question re a tissue valve? Does exercise wear out a tissue valve sooner?

    I also had a question on recovery time. Your blog from a couple weeks back. I was one of those with no symptoms. Age 64. As I said, I was a runner (marathoner in days of old) and cyclist. I was back to work in 4 weeks and stared exercise again at the same time. I felt like I was pretty much recovered by early 2008 in everything except exercise and fitness. I just haven’t been able to get back to my pre-surgery level of fitness. I run about 15 to 20 miles and ride between 85 and 125 miles per week, but much slower. My heart doesn’t adapt to load like it once did. My goal was to do the San Francisco marathon on the anniversary of my surgery, but I didn’t come close. I am really frustrated and wondered if you had any information on the recovery times of similarly situated patients to get back to pre-surgery fitness levels?
    Thanks, Hal

  • Richard

    Hal’s comments are exactly as I feel and wonder also!

  • fazilat

    i had a aortic mechanical valve replacement as i was 42 and very active , i am now six months post op and am finding it difficult to get fit i have not even gone back to the level prior to the op i am concerned but everyone tells me it will take time.

  • Kristi

    I had my Mitral Valve replaced 14yrs ago with a St.Jude valve. I just recently started having shortness of breath and my heart races alot even at rest. Should I be concerned could my valve be wearing out?

  • atul tandon


    I had my mitral valve replaced in 2008 by tissue valve. I was aged 50 years. I was underweight by nearly 26 Kg. After the surgery , I have put on 10 Kg of weight and feel extremely good. Prior to my surgery I would get exhausted and go breathless. I am ,as of now , hale and hearty and enjoying life.

    I am now in my high spirits and feel as though I have had new leash of life.

    I am sure this will encourage to lead a life, full of high spirits. It is the state of mind which decides your health.

    With besh wishes.


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