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How safe are Mechanical Aortic Heart Valves?

Q: I had undergone mechanical aortic valve replacement at the age of 21 (4 years back). At that time the doctor had to do an emergency CABG also. Right now I am on Ecosprin and Warfarin for lifetime. Will I need a second operation, and if yes, approximately when and how serious would it be? Basically, I would like to do some homework and prepare for it. Also I would like to know the side effects (both short/long term) of the medicines I am taking.

A:Mechanical valves do not degenerate and do not need a replacement because of the duration. Aspirin and Warfarin are life long. There are no bad effects as long as periodically PT is being done and INR kept around 2.5 to 3.0. I do not understand what did you mean by emergency bypass also. Valve replacement is always done on cardiopulmonary bypass. If you required an emergency surgery and you are doing well now, results in the long term should remain good.

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