Patients Should Speak Up About What Replacement Heart Valves They Prefer

Research raises questions about whether some heart patients should get mechanical valves instead of bioprosthetic valves, but several factors need to be considered.

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When one of your heart valves needs to be replaced, you have two choices: a mechanical valve or a bioprosthetic valve, made from the heart valves of a pig or cow. Several key factors must be considered when making such a decision, and a recent study suggests that the age of the patient may be among the most important factors. A study presented at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons annual meeting in February found that younger heart valve patients are more likely to survive 10 years if they have a mechanical valve, as opposed to a bioprosthetic valve.
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