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Heart Valve Replacement Options

If you need a new heart valve, your doctor has several options to replace it. There have been great advances in heart valve surgery, including improved procedures for traditional valve replacement and innovative options, such as minimally invasive heart valve procedures, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR), and MitraClip.

The type of valve surgery and the type of heart valve your surgeon recommends will depend upon factors such as your age, your overall health and any other health conditions you have. These innovative approaches will reduce your length of stay in the hospital, result in smaller scars and promote faster recovery time so you can return to your everyday activities sooner.

Different approaches for heart valve surgery

Heart valve surgery is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. There are several different procedures and different types of valves to choose from. There are benefits and risks to each procedure and each type of valve. And some procedures can only be used to replace certain valves. For example, the Ross procedure is only done to replace a diseased aortic valve.

Different types of valves used

  • Replacing with a mechanical valve: Mechanical valves tend to last longer than biologic tissue valves, so the likelihood of needing another valve replacement surgery is reduced. However, the patients who have mechanical valves inserted will have to take blood thinning medication for the rest of their lives.
  • Replacing with a biologic tissue valve: Biologic tissue valves may be made from cow, pig, or human tissue. Because they are similar to the heart's native tissue, they can be very effective. However, they can break down over time and may need to be replaced.

Your heart team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan designed specifically to treat your symptoms and risk factors.