Tissue Engineered heart valves offer the potential for an improved heart valve replacement therapy pending the successful completion of the ongoing research and clinical trials. Currently the clinically available alternatives are:
- Bioprosthetic Valve – typically requires replacement after 8 to 10 years due to calcification, but it has the advantage that no anticoagulation medication is required. Target recipients are older patients.
- Mechanical Valve – life expectancy of mechanical valves is typically greater that 20 years, but the recipient must be on anticoagulation therapy for the rest of his/her life. Target recipients are younger patients with a life expectancy greater than 10 years.