In the 70s, surgical techniques were developed to minimize complications during heart valve surgery. In the 80s the development of good, haemodynamic artificial heart valves was in the foreground - these aimed to achieve quasi-physiological blood flow through the implanted valve.
18,285 heart valves were implanted in 1995 in Germany alone. These comprised 13,123 mechanical heart valve prostheses (71.7%) and 5162 biological heart valve prostheses (28.3%).
In the next few years this ratio of approx. 70% mechanical and 30% biological heart valve prostheses will probably remain unchanged.
Nowadays heart valve replacement is a routine operation. Nevertheless several factors should be borne in mind and these factors are outlined on the following pages.