Heart Valve Manufacturing Tour at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, California

By Adam Pick on February 26, 2008

Hey everybody,

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.

 
 

Edwards LifeSciences Pericardial Heart Valve Replacement

 
 

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!
Adam


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.


Jeff Maltese says on March 6th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Adam The gentleman that you want to talk with is named Dr Jack Bokros.

He is responsible for all bileaflet mechanical valves on the market today, and has a history on how the market has moved forward. Another gentleman that you should talk with is Rollie Siegel, he has been in the heart valve market since the beginning.

Any questions please call I can provide more non biased people to talk with. Jeff Maltese 303-887-8850



Debra says on July 1st, 2010 at 7:39 am

Hi Adam,
First of all I would like to say I am so glad I found your website. I would like to ask you about my 63 year old mother. She had a valve replacement surgery in 1994 and now she has two leaking valves again. The doctors told her that another surgery is a high risk for her or even if she do the surgery the problem will occur again. Can you please help me. My families are helpless we don’t know what to do.

Thanks,
Debra.



Sheila says on August 4th, 2011 at 7:33 am

It has been over 18 months since I had a bovine valve replacement. I still get ‘sensations’ or ‘mild pain’ across my chest (not the sternum). My GP says it is probably from the scar tissue. Is this correct or could it be another problem?



Wanda Headrick says on November 25th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I am scheduled for Aortic Valve Replacement and Aortic Artery Repair or Replacement on Dec 10th. My surgeon has promised he will use a cow valve if he can get one “big enough”. How anc what could I do to assure there would be a “big enough” valve available. Is there a “valve bank” or where do they come from and is there more than one company who provided valves. I am aware if Edwards Life Sciences.


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