An artificial heart valve is made of plastic, metal, or animal tissue and is implanted to replace a person's original heart valve. An artificial valve can be implanted during an open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure. These valves are also called mechanical valves or tissue valves.
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 or aging.
When a person has an artificial heart valve, he or she may need to take anticoagulants to prevent blood clots. And he or she may need to take antibiotics before certain procedures to prevent infection.
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & John A. McPherson MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology & Caroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine