Heart valve disease. Heart valve disease. Close-up of a gross clinical specimen of a sectioned heart showing atherosclerosis (off-white patches) on the mitral valve (upper frame). The mitral valve controls the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle in the heart. Atherosclerotic plaques are composed of fibrous and calcified material. They block blood vessels and impede the proper functioning of the heart's valves. Heart valve disease can be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle or a primary disease. Surgical valve replacement may be required.
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