In the heart valve replacement procedure, doctors replace the existing affected heart valves with healthy artificial valve. These valves are made of animal tissues and are also known as prosthetics. One common question that strikes the mind of majority of people is that, do these valves work like original heart valves or not? The answer to this question is that yes these artificial heart valves works just like the normal heart valves. Artificial valves are of two types, tissue valves and mechanical valve. Some of the strong and durable materials like carbon and titanium are used for creating mechanical valve. On the other hand, tissue heart valves are made either from animal tissues or are obtained from the body of human donors.
Once the replacement surgery is performed successfully then immediately after the surgery patients starts to notice the visible improvement in their body. Recovery period of the patient differ from one patient to another, but on an average it takes somewhere between 6 to 12 weeks. More than 90 percent of the patient who undergo this heart treatment lead healthy life for years.
How Long Do Artificial Valves Last?
The effect of mechanical valve last somewhere between 24 to 25 years and for tissue valve the duration is also the same. The procedure is very useful with long lasting effect. However, in some exceptional cases the valve may have to change within few months or years. There are a number of reasons behind this like the health fitness of the patient, daily routine and how much care the patient has taken over a period of time.
One of the severe risk factor associated with mechanical heart valves is the formation of blood clots. These clots are prone to break and can go to brain, this can lead to stroke or can cause paralysis or even death of the patient. In some rare case, this blood clot may occur at the valve and can lead to malfunction. In this situation, doctor prescribes warfarin, which is a blood thinning tablet. This helps in preventing blood clots and it also implements drastic changes in the lifestyle of the individuals. Patients are advised to go for regular blood tests to ensure that the consistency of blood is appropriate i.e., it is neither too thick nor too thin. Also, the medicines prescribed by the physician should be taken regular without fail. Any alteration made in the medication dosage is not recommended.
Further, people who use warfarin for an extended period of time may face the problem of bleeding. As the age of the patient increases, the risk factor associated with bleeding problem also increases. If not treated on time, then it can cause ulcer or other health related problems. If doctor feels that some kind of surgery need to be performed on the patient, then patient is asked to immediately stop the intake of warfarin. It is done to prevent excess blood loss during the surgery. On an average the percentage of people suffering from blood clot because of mechanical valve is not more than 1-2 percent. Similarly, the percentage of people suffering from bleeding issue is also around 1-2 percent. The risk factor also depends on the work pattern of the patient, for instance; if the patient is involved in construction work then there is high risk of the patient suffering from excess bleeding because of warfarin intake.
The medication is strictly not allowed to pregnant women, as this can cause unexpected birth defect in the unborn child. Hence, the patient should inform the doctor if they are pregnant or are planning a baby soon.
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