Our expert says:
Implanted heart valves are of two kinds. Mechanical heart valves are usually made of very hard substances such as pyrolite, which is inert and cannot be rejected by the body. Tissue valves on the other hand are made of tissue from cattle or pigs, but the valve material is “denatured” before implantation so that it also becomes inert and does not have the potential to trigger an immune response or cause rejection.
So artificial heart valves are not “rejected’, but it is still very important that we look after them. Patients with mechanical heart valve implants need to take warfarin indefinitely. Patients with tissue heart valve implants usually only need to take warfarin if they also have an abnormal heart rhythm, particularly the common heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.
I hope this answers your question.
Best wishes, JT
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