Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in america. Valvular heart disease is a type of heart disease that revolves around the valves in the heart. These valves play a major role in controlling the flow of blood, and preventing backflow between the separate chambers. Although some heart valve issues can be fixed via drugs and therapies, sometimes patients have to get their valves replaced. When a patient is considering this option, they can either get a mechanical valve or a bioprosthetic heart valve (BHV). Each option has its pros and cons, however BHVs offer more pros than the mechanical option. The main issue with BHVs is that they come from another animal, usually from cattle or pigs, and this triggers an immune response in the human body. This immune response leads to calcification of of the heart valve and severely reduces the shelf life of the prosthetic.
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