Throughout valve (Jaron). Unfortunately, both methods require

Throughout the world there are many people who live with hearts thathave bad or dysfunctional valves. People with heart valve issues experiencesymptoms such as chest pains, shortness of breath, and feeling light headed(Symptoms). Eventually, if not fixed, these valve issues could lead to death.However, with the advance of modern technology and modern medicine people canhave this problem fixed in one of two ways and allow people to live a normallife. One method is to replace the defective valve with animal tissue andanother way is using synthetic materials to create a valve (Jaron). Unfortunately,both methods require open heart surgery.

The very first heart valve was placedin a 30-year-old woman in 1952 (Jaron). This first mechanical heart valve was aglass tube with a bulge in the middle where a ball would sit. According toseveral writers at Drexel University, “The downsideto this design was that it could only be placed in the descending aorta insteadof the heart itself.  For this reason it did not fully correct the valveproblem, only alleviate the symptoms.

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” Then in 1960 a new valve wasengineered and used in someone’s heart. This valve was a ball surrounded by ametal cage. Around the cage was a ring close to the bottom of the cage wherethe ball would sit. The biggest difference between the two types of heartvalves was that this new one could be placed inside a person’s heart because itwas smaller (Jaron). One of the downfalls to the ball design was that it didn’tallow the blood to flow naturally. In the late 60s “tilting discs” (Jaron) wereused instead of balls to help alleviate the issue of damaged blood cells fromthe original designs.

Finally, in 1979 a mechanical heart valve was used thatwas more like the shape of an actual heart valve. The only issue with this typeof valve is that some backflow was allowed by the synthetic version, howevermost designs today are based on the one from 1979 (Jaron). In the end thesesynthetic mechanical heart valves will save the lives of many people throughoutthe world.


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