Prosthetic valves are implanted in 40,000 patients per year in the United States. There are approximately 80 types of artificial valves, each with advantages and disadvantages. Patients who receive prosthetic valves are instructed to carry a descriptive card in their wallet. The prosthetic valves can be divided into two basic groups: mechanical, nontissue models and bioprostheses using porcine, bovine, or human valves. Complications of prosthetic valves are more common in patients who have advanced heart disease, including cardiac dilation, LVH congestive heart failure, or dysrhythmias, at the time of their original operation.
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