CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heart valve disorder. Gross specimen of a section through a heart, showing thickening of the mitral valve (white flaps, across centre). The cords that attach the valve flaps to the heart are also seen. The mitral valve is an internal heart valve that separates two of its chambers, the left atrium and the left ventricle, allowing the atrium to contract and pass blood to the ventricle. The valve structure only allows one-way passage of the blood, and prevents blood flow back to the atrium as the left ventricle contracts to send blood into the systemic (body) circulation. This thickening interferes with normal valve function and surgical replacement or repair is eventually required.
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