Prosthetic Heart Valve Replacements – Definition, Pictures And Use
Jill writes to me, “Hi Adam – My world is upside down right now. My dad was just told that he has aortic valve regurgitation and needs a prosthesis valve (or at least I think that is what he said). Can you help me understand what all of this means? Plus, I’m a visual person. If you have any pictures of a valve prosthesis that would be great.”
From Jill’s description, it appears that her father is in definite need of a heart valve replacement. That said, Jill’s father will need a prosthetic valve transplant to enhance the flow of blood through his heart.
According to Heart Health Online, a prosthetic heart valve is a replacement for a diseased or dysfunctional heart valve. There are two types of artificial valves:
- Mechanical heart valve – A mechanical heart valve prosthesis is made of man-made materials. The advantage of mechanical valves is that they can usually last a lifetime. They do not wear out the way natural or biological valves do. Here is a picture of a Medtronic mechanical heart valve replacement.
- Biological heart valves – A biological heart valve prosthesis is made from tissue taken from animals or human cadavers. These bioprosthetic heart valve replacements are treated with preservatives and sterilized for human implantation. Here is a picture of a Edwards Lifesciences biological heart valve.
I know that is a very, very, very simple description of the two types of prosthetic heart valves. To further your inquiry into prosthetic heart valves, I have included several links to other blogs about valve prosthesis.
- Mechanical Aortic Valve Replacement Options
- Trade-offs Between Mechanical and Biological Valve Replacements
- Latest Technology In Aortic Valve Replacement Prosthesis
- Information about pig valve replacements
- Information about cow (bovine) valve replacements
I hope that helps answer Jill’s question about valve prosthesis. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.