Mechanical Heart Valve Research Paper

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A heart valve allows blood to flow in only one direction through the heart. Tissue heart valves are harvested from pig heart valve or a cow heart sac. These tissues are treated, neutralized, mounted on a frame or stent so the body will not reject them. A tissue valve lifetime is 10-15 years. An advantage in a tissue heart valve replacement is that there are fewer requirements for anticoagulation therapy which reduces an incidence of bleeding. Mechanical heart valves are made out of pyrolytic carbon and last up to 20-25 years. A mechanical heart valve requires warfarin anticoagulation therapy and there is a risk for bleeding (Silberman, 2008).

Due to heart valve replacement surgery being a risk of death, patient life expectancy is a major criterion to be considered. Life expectancy, ability to take anticoagulants, compliance and available facilities for monitoring INR, lifestyle, risk of bleeding, patient preference, and risk of reoperation should all be considered in choosing a valve substitute, although in clinical practice patient age is most often the determining factor. Studies have shown that age between 60-65 years is when the benefits of mechanical valves shift to favor the use of bioprostheses (Silberman, 2008).
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That is why a mechanical heart valve requires anticoagulation therapy due to the risk of bleeding. However, it can last up to 25 years. Bioprosthetic does not require anticoagulation do to the lower thrombotic risk but it does not last as long as the mechanical heart valve
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