DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE


Topic: Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Dr. Lee:
Durabality of mechanical valve versus tissue valve?

I personally have a question about the durability of these valves. Is there a difference between the durability of a mechanical valve versus a tissue valve like a cow or a pig valve?

Dr. Michael Miyamoto:

There is. There are pros and cons to each types of valve. The tissue valve has a limited life span that generally thought to be approximately to be ten years. So in general a patient who is less than 70 should probably have a mechanical valve implanted if possible. The benefit of having the tissue valve is that the chronic use of blood thinners like coumadin is not necessary after short period of time, post operatively, once the body coats the biological surface with its own special cells that decrease the risk of clotting on the tissue valve. So after a certain amount of time, postoperatively, a patient with a tissue valve a patient does not need to take coumadin or warfarin. Where as a patient who has a metal valve will need to take warfarin in general, in defiantly. The benefit of the mechanical valve is its longer lifespan. So a patient, again, over 70 should consider having a tissue valve because of the lack of the need for oral blood thinners and also it is thought that some of the biologic cells have better flow characteristics across the valve and they are normal and more physiologic than the metal valve.

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Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2000 6:38:00 AM