Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Carmichael
Success, A Blend of Skilled Surgeons & Technological Developments. In 2014, a person with a faulty heart valve can have it replaced and expect extraordinarily low operative mortality rates and minimal complications. Today’s positive reality represents decades of research and refined surgical skills. 1960s - MECHANICAL VALVES. The first aortic valve replacement occurred in 1960, using a mechanical valve that was essentially a ball loosely fit inside a ring. It was soon replaced by a valve using a disk that tilted open and closed. Eventually, a valve was developed with two leaflets. Leaf versions of the mechanical valve can last a long time but the patient must take medication to prevent blood from thickening and clotting the valve opening.