Artificial Heart valves
Artificial Heart valve transplant
The human heart as we know pumps blood throughout our body. The heart consists of four chambers and multiple valves. These valves may undergo malfunctioning due to various reasons. In such circumstances we must need to replace our heart valves with substitutes. Malfunctioning heart valves can even cause heart failure and death, so the replacement of the valves is extremely important.
The valves we use replace may be mechanical or bio-prosthetic valves. Mechanical valves are made for various non-bio materials whereas bio-prosthetic valves are made from animal tissues.
Bio-prosthetic valves are made from bio materials. Normally we use valves made from animal tissues with metal or polymer support. Cow tissues are most commonly used where as pig tissues are also used .We can also use valves from human donors, The aortic homo-graft can be transplanted from heart of a dead person or a heart that is removed during transplant.
Bio-prosthetic valves cause low bleeding while transplant but they don’t last long, the valves undergo degeneration over time and it should be re-operated. The bio-prosthetic valves are more commonly used in old persons whose age range from 60 – 90 as their life span is lesser than the valve’s.
Mechanical valves are of two types bi-leaflet valves and tilting disc valves. The mechanical valves are more stronger and durable than the bio-prosthetic valves and the life expectancy is greater than the bio-prosthetic valves which reduces the risk of re-operation.
Mechanical valves being more durable and strong also have it’s disadvantages. The blood flow stress is much greater than the bio-prosthetic valves which increases the risk of bleeding in the patients. So the patients who have undergone mechanical valve transplants are required to take blood thinning medications throughout their life also they require lifelong monitoring and dieting. Due to the high risk of bleeding these valves are not preferred for old and weak patients.
It’s not only the age that decides which valve one should use. The current health and medical conditions should also be considered while transplanting. A young pregnant woman should necessarily undergo bio-prosthetic transplant as they should avoid the blood thinning medications.
The future of heart valves
The Transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TVAR technology. By TVAR aortic valves can be replaced without an open heart surgery. The procedure has been the biggest advance of the last several decades in valve replacement. The TAVR procedure can be performed as a valve in valve procedure whereby a TAVR valve is placed inside an existing bio-prosthetic valve, thus avoiding the need for repeat open-heart surgery. Research is still going on for the wide use of TVAR. Let’s Hope the research's can make an impact in the medical field.
Reading this article, which type of heart transplant seems better to you?