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Life Expectancy with a Mechanical Valve

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  • Life Expectancy with a Mechanical Valve

    Had AVR 11/05 at 50 years old doing great.
    I thought life expectancy was basically unchanged.
    Without other unforseen compications.
    Doing some web browsing I came across a life expectancy of 16 to 22 yrs for a 35 yo with a mechanical valve
    This is conta to what St Judes post @ 29.9 years for a 50 yo
    With closer monitering with home testing, I am hoping that the St Judes numbers are low.

  • #2
    The numbers you quote make me wonder where they came from and what they are based on.

    Mechanical Valves are designed to operate for more years than any of us can expect to live.

    Sometimes they need to be replaced for other reasons such as the patient developed Endocarditis which attacks the heart or Pannus Tissue Growth blocks the free movement of the leaflet which requires replacement and 'cleaning out'.

    We have members who have had mechanical valves for 30 to 42+ years and are still going strong.

    (Dick...., Gina a.k.a. GeeBee?, Rxx?)

    'AL Capshaw'


    • #3
      I know my life expectancy was 3-6 months without one ! So, a minimum of 16 years'll do for me but atleast 60 would be prefered ?
      I'm sure my surgeon said something like "with your new valve you should live nearly as long as a anybody else." I clearly remember the "nearly" !
      I think I have a heightened awareness to my health in general though which I very much took for granted before I knew about my condition ?

      "Powered by On-X !"

      Bicuspid Aortic valve diagnosed 2008 and operated on with two weeks notice in Derriford, Plymouth, UK. Dec 2008.


      • #4
        Expectation depends on who you ask. The life insurance company paid off Joann's policy years ago. She was terminated by SEARS because the company doctor said that she was a risk on the job. Both of these sources were not correct. One in our favor and one that cost us $$$. Cleveland Clinic feels that if you do not get an infection or a blood clot, your life expectancy is nearly normal. It does complicate treatment for other issues. i.e. GI, Cancer, Accidents, etc. 38 years and counting with the mechanicals and no plans to change this experience.
        Double Valve Replacement, 1971, Cleveland Clinic
        Pacemaker-1996, 2003
        Double Valve Replacement, Bovine Patch, 3 Bypass-Cleveland Clinic, 1999


        • #5

          I agree with what others have responded.

          We never know how much time we have. I figure something else will get me long before my St. Jude mechanical aortic valve quits on me.

          Everything is on its way to some place...we just don't know what's waiting over the horizon.

          I'm sure everyone is different, but I worried about my mortality a lot just before my AVR surgery and immediately after the surgery was done. At some point, I decided that living and enjoying life was too time consuming and thinking about mortality was just something I didn't have time to do.

          Woodbutcher makes an excellent point that we often hear from our members. We pretty much know how short life will be without valve replacement.

          Enjoy your journey and the challenges that accompany it.



          • #6
            When mine was installed in 1967 at age 31, normal life expectancy for a 31 year old male was age 73. I passed that age about 10 months ago and am still going strong. If a mechanical valve in put in before serious heart damage occurs and if the patient takes reasonable care of himself/herself(something I have not always done:(), there is no reason not to expect a normal life expectancy.

            I was told my valve would last 50 years, well past my life far, so good:p:cool::D
            Starr-Edwards mechanical AVR 1967 at age 31.....University of Kentucky Med. Ctr., Drs. Richard Wood & Gordon Danielson surgeons. No surgery (heart or otherwise) since. On Warfarin ACT since surgery with no diet, lifestyle, or activity restrictions....and I live one day at a time.


            • #7
              Have not heard of such stats.

              Looks like Dick has beat the odds. As many other members. Is that your original valve Dick? Amazing.

              Just over ten years post MVR myself. At year 9 my card expected the valve to give me another 15 to 18 years. So bascially, 24-25 years from time of orig. Hopefully longer. God willin'!
              All the best,
              LuvMyBirman :)
              MVR, 3/99


              • #8
                When I was attempting to sue the person who almost certainly caused my endocarditis a report from an expert cardiologist said that I might have a 'slightly reduced' life expectancy.

                Considering I wasn't expected to survive the surgery I am quite happy with that, I would have been happier if I had been successful in my legal action.
                Lithotripsy for kidney stones 8 December 2004.
                Began to feel unwell 19 December 2004, with hindsight, the beginning of endocarditis.
                Stroke 12 March 2005.
                Endocarditis diagnosed 16 March 2005.
                MVR/AVR - ATS 30 June 2005.
                Discharged 10 July 2005, taken ill on journey from hospital.
                Admitted to hospital 14 July 2005, complete heart block.
                Discharged from hospital 22 July 2005.
                Returned to work 9am on 7 November, dismissed 9am 7 November 2005.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LUVMyBirman View Post

                  . Is that your original valve Dick?

                  Yes, I still have the original. My cardio told me at my last exam in September that the valve is beginning to show its age, but it is still within its working parameters. I spoke with Dr. Starr, the co-inventor of my valve, a couple years ago. He told me that there were quite a few of these old Starr-Edwards valves still in use.
                  Starr-Edwards mechanical AVR 1967 at age 31.....University of Kentucky Med. Ctr., Drs. Richard Wood & Gordon Danielson surgeons. No surgery (heart or otherwise) since. On Warfarin ACT since surgery with no diet, lifestyle, or activity restrictions....and I live one day at a time.


                  • #10
                    When I had my echo last week I asked the tech if he'd ever seen one of the 'ball and cage' valves. Yep, he's seen one ~ so they're still out there.
                    Happy Trails,

                    BAV-1999 - St. Jude Silzone recalled valve still clickin'
                    CoaguChek testing since 1999
                    CoaguChek S testing since 2002
                    CoaguChek XS testing since 2009
                    "Gee, ain't it funny how time jus' slips away..."


                    • #11
                      Good for you Dick! Just shows that the older technology can be a 'great thing' I actually have an older model type than most. Implanted 10 years ago. Guess it depends what your surgeon is comfortable using? Medtronic tilting disk mitral. Only know one other member here with one. She is doing well and further along than I am!
                      All the best,
                      LuvMyBirman :)
                      MVR, 3/99


                      • #12
                        After my surgery both my cardio and my surgeon commented that it was unlikely my valve would cause any more problems and that it would be something else that would eventually "take me out". But I echo the thoughts of others - enjoy each day and be thankful that our condition is treatable. :D

                        St Jude MVR March 17th 2009

                        "Whatever awaits you around the corner - God is already there."


                        • #13
                          Not close to Dick but mine's going on 19 years and still a ticking, almost age 75. ;)

                          AVR, 6/91, 23 mm St Jude Mechanical, age 56, Texas Heart Institute.
                          Home testing and dosing 2/09


                          • #14
                            My husband had his aortic valve replaced with a Bjork-Shiley (mechanical) valve when he was in his forties, several years later he had a mitral valve replacement using a St. Jude mechanical.

                            He lived to age 75 with many, many medical problems, and as someone else mentioned, something else "took him out", with both mechanicals fully functioning until the very last moment.

                            They were a miracle for him. He outlived all of his highschool buddies, many of whom had heart conditions, some should have had heart surgery for blockages, maybe a valve or two and didn't.

                            Joe wasn't supposed to live past the age of 50, at least that's what they told him when he developed rheumatic fever as a teen.

                            But valve surgery and his mechanicals gave him back his lifespan.


                            • #15
                              I was 24 yrs. (1975) when Dr. Cooley implanted two mechanical valves in my ailing heart. My natural valves had been totally destroyed by a bout with rheumatic fever three years earlier.

                              In 2006, I had to have the 31-year old aortic valve swapped out with a brand new St. Jude valve but the 34 year old mitral valve still continues to tick even in it's compromised state.

                              I have the old valve in a jar --- kept it as a souvenir to remind me just how lucky I am to still be alive.

                              Click image for larger version

Name:	Cooley Cutter Valve.jpg
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                              I have posted pictures of my valve before but I found this one on the internet that I think shows up better than the one I've taken.
                              Best Regards,
                              N Jean (New Mexico)

                              May/1975: AVR & MVR Double-Valves (Cooley-Cutter Mechanicals)
                              Dec/1975: MV Repair -- Re-suture Mitral Mech. Valve (Dr. Denton Cooley)
                              Mar/2006: AVR -- Old Valve Replaced w/St. Jude Mechanical (Dr. Reul)

                              "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
                              - Marie Curie