Frequently Asked Questions – Heart Valve Replacement

How long will my heart valve last?

Mechanical valves in some patients have lasted as long as 25 years without problems.1 So, it is possible that your new artificial valve could last for the rest of your life. But in some cases, a valve has to be replaced within a matter of years or months, for a number of reasons.

Mechanical valves are more resistant to the constant demands on them, such as opening and closing each time your heart beats. The materials used in mechanical valves stand up well to this wear and tear.

Tissue valves don't tend to last as long as mechanical valves. They can tear and leak over time. Tissue valves usually have to be replaced after about 10 to 15 years,2 or more often in younger patients or children who may have outgrown their valves.

Fortunately, tissue valves wear out slowly so you and your doctor have time to plan for a new operation, if it is necessary.

Will my new valve need special care?

Let your other doctors and your dentist know that you've had heart valve surgery. Ask whether you should take antibiotics before surgical or dental procedures to help prevent valve infections.

Is it safe to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan after heart valve replacement?

You should inform your doctor if you have had a heart valve replacement.

References

  1. Butchart EG, Hui-Hua L, Payne N, et al. Twenty years' experience with Medtronic Hall valve. J.Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2001; 121:1090-100.
  2. Mosaic® Bioprosthesis: Ten year clinical update. ©Medtronic, Inc. 2007

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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