Not likely, as the amount of metal within these devices is generally not enough to activate the detectors. In the unlikely event that it does, simply show your identification card to the security personnel. Additionally, passing through the detector will not affect your heart valve.
- 61. Will my prosthetic heart valve or annuloplasty ring set off an airport metal detector?
- 62. Will my heart feel or sound differently?
- 63. How often will my valve need to be checked?
- 64. Will there be any dietary restrictions after my surgery?
- 65. Are special medications required before or after surgery?
- 66. How long will a prosthetic heart valve last?
- 67. Should I get a mechanical or bioprosthetic valve?
- 68. How common is heart valve surgery?
- 69. Are there risks associated with the surgery?
Will my prosthetic heart valve or annuloplasty ring set off an airport metal detector?
Will my heart feel or sound differently?
Some patients report different sensations after valve replacement surgery. Others with mechanical heart valve implants have noticed a mild "ticking" sound. If you experience these sensations, you can rest assured that your heart is working properly. For the vast majority of patients, awareness of valve sounds disappears in six months to one year.
How often will my valve need to be checked?
Your doctor will discuss the appropriate time intervals for follow-up visits, and you should always make every effort to keep these appointments. In some cases, diagnostic imaging tests (such as X-rays, echocardiograms and angiograms) may be requested by your doctor to monitor valve function and check for abnormal rhythms.
Will there be any dietary restrictions after my surgery?
Your doctor or surgeon will inform you of any special dietary restrictions prior to and just after your surgery. Your doctor will likely recommend a heart-healthy diet for the long term to reduce the chances of further developing the disease.
Are special medications required before or after surgery?
If you choose a mechanical heart valve your doctor will place you on anticoagulant medication in addition to the standard drug regimen given to all cardiac patients. Anticoagulation is necessary to reduce the possibility of blood clots. You will be administered anticoagulant medication for the duration of your life. A patient on anticoagulation medicine requires regular monitoring of the concentration of the drug in his or her bloodstream. The patient can choose to have this monitoring performed at a special clinic or can manage the drug in the home with a special monitoring unit.
If you choose a bioprosthetic valve your doctor may or may not administer anticoagulants. If you do receive anticoagulants it will only be necessary for a certain period after surgery until healing has taken place; then anticoagulation therapy will be discontinued. In some cases where the patient suffers from additional cardiac or blood issues the doctor may place the patient on anticoagulants for the duration of his or her life.
When undergoing dental procedures your dentist or physician may prescribe antibiotics in order to prevent bacteria from entering the bloodstream, settling on or near your heart valve, and causing an infection.
How long will a prosthetic heart valve last?
Sorin Heart Valves mechanical heart valves are made of a durable form of carbon called “Pyrolite”. During FDA mandated high-speed durability testing, these Pyrolite valves demonstrated a projected wear life of one-hundred years. After more than 600,000 implants, Sorin valves suffered not one post-operative structural failure. Thus, it is unlikely that a Sorin valve will fail or wear out. While blood clots are rare, clots can interfere with valve function and could result in replacement. A patient who adheres to his or her anticoagulation program is unlikely to experience a clotting event.
Because they are made with tissue, bioprosthetic heart valves usually have a shorter life span than mechanical valves. If a failure occurs, you may experience the same symptoms you had prior to the initial valve replacement surgery and will likely undergo an additional valve replacement surgery.
Should I get a mechanical or bioprosthetic valve?
There are pros and cons with each choice, and your doctor is best qualified to discuss these with you in detail. The general benefit to a mechanical valve is that it will most likely last a lifetime, while its greatest drawback is that it will require you to take anticoagulation medication for the duration of your life to reduce your risk of developing clots. A bioprosthetic valve generally does not require lifelong medication, but because it is made from animal tissue these devices eventually wear out. In patients over seventy years of age, biological valves may last up to fifteen years or more. But for patients aged less than seventy, the younger the patient, the more quickly the valve wears out. Younger patients can therefore expect one or more additional surgeries during their lives.
How common is heart valve surgery?
There are more than 225,000 surgeries performed throughout the world each year to repair or replace heart valves.
Are there risks associated with the surgery?
There are always risks associated with this type of surgery. For example, in the case of mitral valve repair, the operative risk is approximately 1 in 1000. Factors such as coronary artery disease and other conditions will affect your individual risk. As always, discuss these issues with your doctor prior to surgery.