Heart valves damaged beyond simple repair can often be replaced. The most commonly replaced valves are the aortic and mitral valves. When either of these valves exhibit advanced stenosis, they may be candidates for replacement. Some replacement valves are implanted using a balloon catheter, much like coronary angioplasty.
When the mitral valve is too loose to properly close, blood flows (regurgitates) backwards into the atrium. When this valve cannot be repaired, patients may have the option for either mechanical or tissue valves to replace.