Live...from the Heart
The interactive videoconference between your class or classroom and the operating room.
Other Conditions: Heart Valve Disease
Heart Valve Disease
The heart has four chambers. The upper two are the right and left atria. The lower two are the right and left ventricles. Blood is pumped through the chambers, aided by four heart valves. The valves open and close to let the blood flow in only one direction. Each valve has a set of flaps (also called leaflets or cusps). When working properly, the heart valves open and close fully.
The tricuspid valve is between the right atrium and right ventricle.
The pulmonary valve is between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
The mitral (bicuspid) valve is between the left atrium and left ventricle.
The aortic valve is between the left ventricle and the aorta.
Heart valves don't always work as they should. A person can be born with an abnormal heart valve, a type of congenital heart defect. Also, a valve can become damaged by infections or conditions such as rheumatic fever.
A defective heart valve is one that fails to fully open or close. A stenotic heart valve can't open completely, so blood is pumped through a smaller-than-normal opening. A valve also may not be able to close completely. This leads to regurgitation (blood leaking back through the valve when it should be closed).
People with congenital heart valve defects may need treatment with drugs. Some valve defects may be repaired or replaced during surgery.
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