Replacing the patients failing aortic valve with an artificial valve! Aortic valve replacement is most frequently done through a median sternotomy, meaning the incision is made by cutting through the sternum. Once the pericardium has been opened, the patient is put on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine (heart-lung machine). This machine takes over the task of breathing for the patient and pumping their blood around while the surgeon replaces the heart valve. Once the patient is on bypass, a cut is made in the aorta and a crossclamp applied. The surgeon then removes the patient's diseased aortic valve and a mechanical or tissue valve is put in its place. Once the valve is in place and the aorta has been closed by sutures, the patient is taken off the heart-lung machine.