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Gross specimen of a stenosed aortic valve, a narrowing of the opening of the aortic valve due to fusion of the valve's cusps. Rheumatic fever, calcification and scarring of the valve are factors responsible for aortic stenosis. The blockage obstructs the flow of blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta (main artery of the body), during systole (the contraction of the heart). A stenosed aortic valve can be replaced surgically with a mechanical prosthesis, such as a Starr-Edwards ball-cage graft.
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