Prosthetic Heart Valves, Part I: Identification and Potential Complications

Jagdish Butany, MBBS, MS, FRCPC; Gursharan S. Soor, BSc; Moyukh Chakrabarti, BSc; Iva Vukin, BSc; Shaun W. Leong, BSc


Geriatrics and Aging. 2006;9(10):691-696. 

In This Article


Where valve repair is not possible, valvular heart disease is best treated by valve replacement. Mechanical heart valves are generally more durable but patients must be maintained on lifelong anticoagulant therapy, which increases the risk of hemorrhage and makes patient compliance a critical issue. In comparison, bioprostheses more closely mimic native valves and do not need anticoagulant therapy, but are more prone to structural deterioration. This review focussed on contemporary mechanical and biological valves. Homografts are also effective bioprostheses but are not as widely used due to limited availability. Many other models of mechanical and biological prostheses have been used worldwide, which have been replaced with these newer, more advanced models and are therefore not discussed here. In addition, there are newer trends in bioprosthesis design and application. Some of these will soon be in use and will increase the options available for the patient's benefit. A bioengineered valve made from the host's own tissue, however, is still far away.


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