Heart valve surgery

Heart valve surgery

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Credit: ANTONIA REEVE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Heart valve surgery. Syringe being used to inject saline into catheters to prepare them for use in heart valve surgery. Catheters (thin guide tubes) need to be filled before use to ensure correct operation. For this operation, they will be tipped with balloons. One of the catheters will be inserted into an artery in the patient's groin and guided through the body arteries to a position in the aorta just outside the heart. The balloon will be inflated to block the blood flow and allow a heart-lung machine to take over from the heart. This allows surgery to replace the defective heart valve. Heartport surgery is a type of keyhole surgery often used to replace heart valves.

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