DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Aorta surgery. Tubes from a heart-lung machine attached to a heart during heart surgery. A heart-lung machine is used to maintain the body's vital functions while the heart is stopped temporarily during surgery. This surgery is being carried out to replace an aorta (the body's main artery) that has become dilated due to a bicuspid aortic heart valve (BAV). A BAV is a congenital defect of the aortic valve where it has two cusps (sealing flaps) rather than the usual three. This can reduce the strength of the descending aorta, leading to an increased risk of dilation or aneurysm.
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