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Surgery on the heart valve involves repair or replacement of the damaged valve or valves. An operation to repair a valve involves reconstruction to ensure that it works well. There are three different types of artificial valves, if a replacement is needed:

Bioprosthetic valves are generally known as “pig valves”, being mainly made from animal tissue which are treated with chemicals to avoid rejection. Therefore, the patient does not require anti-rejection medication.

Mechanical valves are made of metal or synthetic material which requires the patient to receive anticoagulation. That is, they have to take regular medication to thin the blood and prevent blood clots.

Biologic valves are made from human heart valves obtained from donors which have been treated in the laboratory. They are often referred to as homografts.

If a replacement valve is not required and repair is possible, this may involve using a ring, which is not a complete artificial valve.