If you have an artificial heart valve (prosthetic valve) you will need anticoagulation therapy for the rest of your lifetime to prevent clots forming. Anticoagulation is effective in preventing clot formation on the artificial surfaces of the valve.
Prosthetic valves make a slight clicking sound as they close and most patients will be able to hear this from time to time.
Some procedures, will require that you take an antibiotic before the treatment can begin. Always tell your doctor and your dentist well in advance of any treatment that you are on warfarin. Most dental procedures can be carried out without interruption of warfarin.
Some surgical procedures, however, may need you to reduce your INR level or to stop taking warfarin for a short period. Do not reduce or stop your warfarin unless your haematologist and or your cardiac consultant or surgeon tells you to.
After valve replacement all patients should be followed up regularly by their cardiologist.
For further information on prosthetic valves and anticoagulation control contact us for a copy of 'Living with Prosthetic Valves'. See Publications and Leaflets page.
Blood Culture. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Accessed at https://www.texasheart.org/
Congenital heart defects. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/c/congenital-heart-defects.htm
Heart valve surgery. MedlinePlus. Accessed at https://medlineplus.gov/
Valve Disease. Texas Heart Institute. Accessed at https://www.texasheart.org/