Alternatives

The search for the ideal replacement heart valve continues. The natural human valve is the gold standard and has proven hard to match. An ideal replacement for the human heart valve should meet these guidelines:

  1. It should allow unobstructed flow of blood when open and should close completely to prevent reverse flow or regurgitation.
  2. The material from which it is made should not react with blood elements to cause damage or stimulate clot formation.
  3. It should be durable enough to last a normal human lifetime.
  4. It should be easy to implant, as this minimizes risk for the patient.
  5. It should be readily available, that is, easy to obtain or make, measure, test, store, and transport.