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When I was 5 years old (in 1947), I unfortunately had rheumatic fever, which ultimately destroyed my aortic heart valve. Fortunately, ten years ago here in Perth, Western Australia, I had the diseased aortic valve replaced by a Medtronic artificial heart valve. The results have been spectacular, to say the least! Although I am now nearly 68 years old, I walk every day for an hour and a half, ride an exercise bike for half an hour per day and am living a healthy, carefree life without any heart problems. In other words, I feel no fatigue, nor any other feeling, except for sheer joy! Yet, now that I approach 70, I'm beginning to have a few doubts. I've heard that artificial hearts may not last that long and that they may need to be replaced. My question is simply: how long do artificial heart valves last and what can I expect from the one I've got?

Kind regards,

Roland Williams

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My understanding is that the artificial ones are just fine. It's not the same as an artificial heart. And yes, as best i can tell, it should last for a long time. have you spoken to a cardiologist about it?
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Your story sounds almost identical to mine including rheumatic fever as a child. I received a new Edwards Life Science valve at age 60 and I am 69 years old now. My suggestion to you is to stay in touch with a cardiologist and have an echo done every six months. He will know if the valve is calcifying, tearing or leaking and will recomend immediate action. I believe that valve degradation is a slow process giving plenty of time to take remedial action. I do not believe it fails all of a sudden.
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