Valve replacement insight

Mechanical heart valves are often safer than natural tissue for mitral valve replacement until age 70.

Mechanical heart valves are safer in certain cases than valves made of animal tissue, especially for replacing mitral valves, according to a Stanford study.

The study shows that replacements with mechanical mitral valves benefited patients until age 70, but the benefits of using mechanical aortic valves ended after age 55.

The revelation could have a major impact on future procedures, says Joseph Woo, MD, professor and chair of cardiothoracic surgery and senior author of the study published Nov. 8 in The New England Journal of Medicine.