Heart Valve Manufacturing Tour at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, California
By Adam Pick on February 26, 2008
As you may know, I’m currently interviewing several leading heart valve replacement manufacturers for the next edition of my book. I’m trying to learn more facts about heart valve replacements to help future patients and caregivers better understand their options.
That said, last week I visited Edwards Lifesciences headquarters in Irvine, California. It was amazing! The company has an incredible heart valve museum that really illustrates the development of heart valve technology and heart valve surgery.
During the tour of Edwards’ heart valve manufacturing site, I saw both porcine (pig) and bovine (cow) valve replacements being made. Needless to say, I learned ALOT about the manufacturing process and performance of tissue heart valve replacements. Thanks to Mike Numamoto (pictured below), Nolan Taira and Suzanne Gillmore from Edwards for your time and help!
Here are some interesting facts I learned about tissue valve replacements during my visit to Edwards:
- A biological or tissue heart valve replacement can require up to 1,800 hand-sewn stitches.
- The average time it takes to manufacture one tissue heart valve is 29 days.
- Heart valve replacements can cost over $5,000 US dollars. However, relative to the total cost of heart valve replacement surgery, that’s not terribly expensive.
- I estimate that Edwards ships about 70,000 heart valve replacements each year.
- The shelf-life of a tissue heart valve replacement is about 2 years.
- The Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT aortic heart valve replacement has shown durability in excess of 20 years. Many factors go into the overall durability of heart valves including the patient’s age, his/her medical conditions, etc. Edwards’ continuing goal is “to make their pericardial tissue valve even more durable, which would make them an even better options for patients.”
- Edwards employs over 5,600 people.
Honestly, I could on and on and on… However, I gotta run. I’m late for dinner. To learn more about heart valve replacements, click here.
Keep on tickin!