Excellence and durability: A normally functioning Björk-Shiley flat-disc prosthesis 42 years post implantation


Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers


Mechanical heart valves have been used worldwide for more than 60 years. While the composition and design of the valves, and the surgical techniques employed to implant them, have changed and advanced over that time, some of the earlier mechanical heart valves showed such great durability that they are still functioning in patients today. One of the most often-used and long-lasting mechanical prostheses was the Björk-Shiley heart valve. While many versions of this valve were used during its 25 years of production, the most durable was the Björk-Shiley flat-disc valve. This valve was first implanted in 1971 and was the first successful tilting-disc valve. Here, the complex medical history is reported of an elderly patient with a well-functioning Björk-Shiley flat-disc valve in the aortic position that was placed over 42 years ago. The history of mechanical heart valves - in particular the Björk-Shiley heart valve, including the flat-disc mechanical valve - is also briefly reviewed.

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