The valves of the heart can be affected by several diseases that result in failure to open properly, thereby restricting normal blood flow through the valve. A commissurotomy is a surgical procedure that relieves the restriction to opening. Restricted valve opening is called “stenosis”. Valve stenosis can lead to symptoms such as breathlessness and weakness. During the commissurotomy, the valve is not replaced. Instead, the opening through the valve is widened by “loosening up” the valves allowing them to open wider.

Figure 1: Normal heart valve (mitral valve is shown zoomed-in).

Figure 2: Heart valve that is partially fused due to stenosis.

Figure 3: Commissurotomy procedure being performed on a stenotic valve.


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