Appointments

800.659.7822

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.659.7822

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

Your Heart Valves

There are four valves within your heart. They are the mitral, tricuspid, aortic and pulmonic valve.

The mitral valve and tricuspid valve lie between the atria (upper heart chambers) and the ventricles (lower heart chambers). The aortic valve and pulmonic valve lie between the ventricles and the major blood vessels leaving the heart.

As blood leaves each chamber of the heart, it passes through a valve. Your heart valves make sure that blood flows in only one direction through your heart.


A Closer Look at the Valves

The valve is made of strong, thin pieces or flaps of tissue called leaflets.

The leaflets are attached to and supported by a ring of tough fibrous tissue called the annulus. The annulus helps to provide support and maintain the proper shape of the valve.

The valve leaflets can be compared to doors opening and closing. While the annulus functions as the door frame.

The leaflets of the mitral and tricuspid valve are also supported by tough, fibrous strings called chordae tendineae. These are similar to the strings supporting a parachute. The chordae tendineae extend from the valve leaflets to small muscles, called papillary muscles, which are part of the inside walls of the ventricles. The chordae tendineae and papillary muscles keep the leaflets stable against any backward flow of blood.

Mitral Valve

Mitral Valve

aortic valve

Aortic Valve

How Valves Work

The right and left sides of the heart work together to pump blood throughout the whole body. The four heart valves make sure that blood always flows freely in a forward direction and that there is no backward leakage.

Blood flows from your right and left atria into your ventricles through the open mitral and tricuspid valves

1. Blood flows from your right and left atria into your ventricles through the open mitral and tricuspid valves.


When the ventricles are full, the mitral and tricuspid valves shut. This prevents blood from flowing backward into the atria while the ventricles contract

2. When the ventricles are full, the mitral and tricuspid valves shut. This prevents blood from flowing backward into the atria while the ventricles contract (squeeze).


As the ventricles begin to contract, the pulmonic and aortic valves are forced open and blood is pumped out of the ventricles through the open valves into the pulmonary artery toward the lungs, and the aorta, to the body

3. As the ventricles begin to contract, the pulmonic and aortic valves are forced open and blood is pumped out of the ventricles through the open valves into the pulmonary artery toward the lungs, and the aorta, to the body.


When the ventricles finish contracting and begin to relax, the aortic and pulmonic valves snap shut. These valves prevent blood from flowing back into the ventricles

4. When the ventricles finish contracting and begin to relax, the aortic and pulmonic valves snap shut. These valves prevent blood from flowing back into the ventricles.

This pattern is repeated, causing blood to flow continuously to the heart, lungs and body.

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Read the Latest from Our Experts About cctopics » Heart & Vascular Health
Alcohol May Cause You to Develop Irregular Heartbeat
10/30/14 1:45 p.m.
Even in moderation, alcohol may be hard on your heart. A new study finds that having as little as one to three alcoholic drinks each day may increase your risk for atrial f...
by Heart & Vascular Team
You’ve Been Diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer: Now What? (Video)
10/29/14 8:14 a.m.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects our thro...
10 Tips for Lowering Your Cholesterol
10/27/14 10:10 a.m.
We all want to be heart-healthy, and ensuring healthy levels of cholesterol — a fat, or lipid, carried through ...
Recipe: Low-Cal Chocolate-Walnut Biscotti
10/24/14 4:00 p.m.
Getting back into baking now that the weather has turned crisp once again? Try our chocolate-walnut biscotti. T...
Why Your Low-T Medications May Not Be Safe
10/23/14 8:31 a.m.
If you’re taking a medication for low testosterone to ward off the effects of aging – such as decreased l...