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Heart valve replacement may be recommended for:
- narrowing of the heart valve (stenosis)
- leaking of the heart valve
Valve problems may be caused by infections (rheumatic fever) or birth defects and may cause heart failure (congestive heart failure) and infections (infective endocarditis).
The surgery is done while the patient is deep-asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). An incision is made through the breast bone (sternum).
Review Date 2/24/2016
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.