Prosthetic heart valve

A prosthetic heart valve is an artificial valve, made of plastic, metal, or pig tissue, that is surgically implanted to replace a person's original heart valve. A person's heart valve may need to be replaced if it no longer works properly because of a birth defect or because of damage caused by a disease process or aging.

When a person has a prosthetic heart valve, he or she may need to take anticoagulants to prevent blood clots and may need to take antibiotics before certain procedures to prevent infection.

Last Updated: February 12, 2010

Author: Robin Parks, MS

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & George Philippides, MD - Cardiology

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