Leaking Heart Valves
Patients living with leaking heart valves have more options than ever. A bio heart valve or mechanical heart valve may be the best option to repair a damaged heart. A leaking heart valve not only puts additional strain on the hardest-working muscle in your body, it can lead to aneurism or separation and further damage to your heart.
Mechanical Heart Valve
One option patients may be offered is heart valve replacement. A mechanical heart valve has several
advantages. Primarily, there is little to no risk of the valve itself being rejected by the body. A mechanical valve may not wear out as quickly as a bovine (harvested from a cow) or porcine (harvested from a pig) heart valve. Patients may, however, require blood thinners when living with a mechanical heart valve.
How Long Do Pig Valves Last in Humans?
The answer varies. The valves last an average of seven to ten years in patients over 65. Conditions affecting the metabolism of calcium in the body, especially in children and young adults, increase the chances and the speed of failure of a bio heart valve.
Bio Heart Valve
A bio heart valve, which is harvested from either a cow or pig heart may be implanted either using a structure called a stent, or may be “stentless.” The likelihood of a bio heart valve failing depends on the individual patient’s condition and a number of other factors. Your doctor can help you decide which type of valve is right for you when considering bicuspid aortic valve replacement options.
Biological Heart Valve Pros and Cons
The primary advantage of a bio heart valve is that it does not require the patient to take blood thinners. Up to three percent of patients will not benefit from this advantage, because they require blood thinners for another condition. Mechanical heart valves require the patient to be on a blood thinner for the rest of their lives, but the valve is more likely to last a lifetime without requiring replacement. Your doctor can help you decide which valve replacement option is the right one for you.