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The human heart has 4 valves that are responsible for controlling blood flow through the heart. Valves can be damaged or affected by disease, in which case they will need to be repaired or replaced.
Damaged valves can be repaired by the placement of a special ring, while artificial valves are used to replace valves that are damaged beyond repair. While the valves are being replaced/repaired, the heart is stopped for a short period of time.
The surgery can be done with minimally invasive methods to reduce the length of hospital stays and discomfort to the patient. In certain cases, it may be necessary to perform open heart surgery to complete the procedure more effectively.