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USC - University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
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Heart Valve Surgery

During heart valve surgery, one or more valves are repaired or replaced. Repair means that the valve is mended, while replacement means the diseased valve is removed and a new valve is inserted in its place.

Valves allow blood to flow from one chamber to another, or out of the heart in only one direction. Valves control the flow of blood through the heart by opening and closing during the contractions of the heart.

Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery

Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery uses much smaller incisions to reach the heart and its valves. More information on Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery

Repairing a Valve

During valve repair, a ring may be sewn around the opening of the valve to tighten it. Other parts of the valve may be cut, shortened, separated, or made stronger to help the valve open and close right.

Replacing a Valve

If a valve can't be repaired, part or all of the damaged valve and its supportive structures may be removed, and may be replaced with a mechanical or biological prosthetic valve. Mechanical valves are created from man-made materials. Biological (tissue) valves are taken from pig, cow, or human donors.

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