The Human heart is divided into four chambers in which blood flows. The upper two chambers are known as auricles or atrium and the bottom two chambers are known as ventricles. Deoxygenated blood enters into the right atrium and is transferred to the right ventricle and then to the lungs. After purification, the oxygenated blood enters inside the left atrium and pumps it to the left ventricle. This blood flow takes place through the opening and closing of valves. There are mainly four valves present in our hearts.
PULMONARY VALVE: It is located between the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle.
TRICUSPID VALVE: It is located between the right ventricle and right atrium.
MITRAL VALVE: It is located between the left ventricle and left atrium.
AORTIC VALVE: It is located between the aorta and the left ventricle.
If any of the four valves do not function properly or open and close improperly it may disrupt blood flow from our heart throughout your entire body. This is diagnosed as a defective heart valve which either needs to be repaired or in some advanced cases replaced. Patients with defective heart valves that cannot be repaired must undergo a valve replacement. Doctors remove the original heart valve and replace it with a Mechanical valve. This process is known as Mechanical Heart Valve Replacement. The Mechanical Heart valve or Artificial Heart Valve is made from cow, pig or human heart tissue. There are two common types of heart valve damage:
Narrowing of valve
Leak in the valve or leaky valve
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The entire treatment or the replacement process depends upon certain factors such as the age of the patient, health, condition of the affected valve, etc.
WHY DO PATIENTS WHO UNDERGO MECHANICAL HEART VALVE REPLACEMENT REQUIRE ANTICOAGULATION?
If you undergo valve replacement, there is an increased risk of blood clots in the Mechanical Heart Valve. These blood clots are serious and can restrict the blood flow in the heart which may directly lead to a stroke. Blood-thinning medication prevents blood clots irrespective of valve type or date of introduction.
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Patients who are on blood-thinning medication such as WARFARIN [COUMADIN] must be cautious about measuring their PT/INR regularly. Blood should neither be too thin nor too thick. When blood is too thin it may increase the risk of bleeding. WARFARIN is the traditional method of anticoagulation that requires a frequent blood test to check PT/INR. This becomes much more convenient with the help of PATIENT SELF TESTING at home. Patients can check and monitor their INR level with a PT/INR METER, call in the result and their doctors receives a faxed report within a few minutes.