We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Heart Valve Transplant?

By Christina Whyte
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A heart valve transplant is a type of transplant surgery in which a damaged, malfunctioning, or malformed heart valve is surgically replaced with a new valve. Healthy heart valves open to let blood flow through, faulty valves need to be replaced to restore efficient and strong blood flow. Surgery to replace a heart valve has risks, but can restore heart function and save the patient's life.

The valves used in heart valve transplant may be mechanical or biological. Mechanical transplant valves are made from a non-biological materials such as metal, cloth, or ceramic. Biological transplant valves include both human donated valves and animal valves, frequently from pigs. Mechanical valves tend to last longer than biological ones, but require the patient to take blood thinning medication. The valve type used will depend on the individual patient's needs.

A person may need a heart valve transplant for a variety of reasons, but the procedure will usually only be performed if the heart function is seriously affected or likely to become seriously affected. Endocarditis, birth defects, heart attack, or other heart problems can damage the valve and/or its supporting structures severely enough to cause stenosis, when valves do not fully open, or regurgitation, when valves do not fully close.

General anesthetic is used during heart valve transplant surgery, which means that the patient is unconscious and unable to feel pain. The heart is stopped so that it cannot beat and disrupt the surgical work, and blood flow is maintained by a special machine. Both open heart and minimally invasive procedures can be used. Open surgery means that a large incision is made, whereas in minimally invasive surgery the incisions are much smaller. Minimally invasive surgery is usually preferred because the recovery is easier and less painful for the patient, but it may not be appropriate for some patients.

Heart valve transplant surgery has the same risks as any heart surgery including reactions to the anesthetic used, infection, heart attack or other organ failure, or death. The success rate is quite high however, and the surgery will relieve symptoms and can save the patient's life. Patients should consult medical professionals about the risks of the surgery, and get instructions for aftercare.

Generally, patients who have had a heart valve transplant need to greatly reduce activity and then slowly build it back up, cut down on salt intake and make other diet changes, and carefully watch for signs of infection or complications. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity should be avoided for a few weeks, as well as driving, and also very hot showers, which can affect circulation. Patients may be prescribed blood thinners and/or antibiotics and should carefully follow medication recommendations.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.