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All Images

Discovery
Artificial Heart Valves Face the Curdled Milk Test

Back to article | Note about images

Illustration shows circular mechanical valve inside heart.

Any of the heart's four valves can be surgically replaced; in the United States, more than 80,000 such operations occur every year. Replacement valves can come from human or animal donors, or they can be mechanical, like the one pictured here.

Credit: National Library of Medicine


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Photo shows plastic device that mimics human aortic and mitral valves.

Graduate student Aimee Martin and her colleagues designed this artificial heart chamber to mimic what happens inside the human heart. The system uses curdled milk as a blood substitute, pumping it through artificial valves to test them for mechanical flaws.

Credit: Aimee Martin, University of Edinburgh


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Photo shows lumpy blood clots in corners of valve.

This picture shows blood clots that formed around a mechanical heart valve after it had been implanted in a patient.

Credit: Aimee Martin, University of Edinburgh


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Photo of mechanical heart valve, with curdled milk clumps on corners.

This image shows the same type of mechanical valve, after it was tested with Aimee Martin's milk system. Clumps of curdled milk formed in the same locations as blood clots in implanted heart valves.

Credit: Aimee Martin, University of Edinburgh


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