ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heart valve replacement. Image 5 of 6. Artificial (prosthetic) heart valve being put into place. Sutures (dark green thread), are used to attach the valve to the heart. Replacement heart valves can either be man-made (mechanical), or made from animal or human tissue (biological). Mechanical valves are designed to last a lifetime, whereas biological valves normally need replacing after ten years. There are four valves in the human heart, all of which prevent the backflow of blood. Damage to the valves can lead to malfunctioning of the heart and death. If the valve cannot be repaired it must be replaced. For the sequence see M560/445 to M560/450.
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