KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heart valve frozen storage. Technician in gloves, mask and protective clothing retrieves a container of donated aortic valves from its storage in liquid nitrogen. The valves were preserved in the extremely low temperature (below -198 degrees Celsius) of the nitrogen until needed. They can be thawed out when needed. The aortic valve lies between the left ventricle of the heart (main pumping chamber) and the aorta, the body's largest artery. It can be removed from donated hearts and transplanted into patients whose valves are malfunctioning due to disease.
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