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A heart valve replacement procedure is required when the valve develops a disease. This means that at least one of the 4 valves have developed the disease, no longer functions correctly and needs to be replaced with a new one. Sometimes the valve can be repaired, however, if this is not feasible, then the surgeon will advise that a full replacement of the valve is necessary. Such diseases that may lead to the requirement of a heart valve include aortic valve disease, mitral valve disease, pulmonary valve disease and tricuspid valve disease. The surgeon will begin the surgery by making an incision down the sternum. They will then remove the diseased valve and replace it with a new one, stitching its place.
There are 3 different types of valves which can be used to replace the old valve. These valves include Mechanical valve: This valve is composed of mechanical parts. Biological valve: This valve is made of tissue from either human or animal tissue. With the animal tissue, this is usually tissue from either a pig which is referred to as porcine or a cow which is known as bovine. Homograft valve: This valve is also known as an allograft valve and is an aortic or pulmonic valve that has come from a human heart that has been donated.