Heart valve repair is a common operation in the UK and has a high success rate.
There are four heart valves in all: two are located on the right of the heart and two on the left side.
Surgery is almost always performed on the heart valves on the left side.
There is an inlet and outlet valve on both sides: on the left these heart valves are called the mitral valve (inlet) and the aortic valve (outlet).
They function simply as one-way or non-return valves and ensure that the blood flows one way through the system.
Heart valve leakage
Heart valve repair may be necessary if these valves become disordered. They can either stick and fail to open, or heart valve leakage can occur and they can fail to close properly.
Sometimes heart valve surgery is also necessary if the valves get stuck half open and half closed.
Medically speaking, a narrowed valve is know as aortic stenosis, while heart valve leakage is referred to as aortic regurgitation.