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.

I hope that helps answer Jill’s question about valve prosthesis. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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

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.

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