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An artificial heart valve is made of plastic, metal, or pig tissue and is surgically implanted to replace a person's original heart valve. These valves are also called mechanical valves or tissue valves.
A person's heart valve may need to be replaced if it no longer works properly because of a birth defect or because of damage caused by a disease or aging.
When a person has an artificial heart valve, he or she may need to take anticoagulants to prevent blood clots. And he or she may need to take antibiotics before certain procedures to prevent infection.
Last Revised: November 29, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
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