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Heart Valve Repair or Replacement

In some cases, instead of poor circulation in the arteries, the problem is with the valves that connect the four chambers of the heart. Valve abnormalities can be the result of an inherited defect or they may develop or worsen over time. Valves can become too narrow so that blood cannot pass through or they may not be able to fully close, leading to leaking of blood in the opposite direction of proper circulation.

In severe cases, an open-heart or a minimally invasive repair or replacement of the heart valve is performed.  Repair of the valve uses the existing heart tissue in the patient, such as tightening a valve that is too wide open. Replacement of a defective or malfunctioning valve involves removing the native heart valve and replacing it with an artificial one made of heart tissue or of metal.

Heart Cross Section
(Click the picture for a larger image)