Understanding Heart Valves

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Understanding Heart Valves

Mitral Valve is a bicuspid valve present between the left atrium and the left ventricle

Human heart is divided into four chambers, with two upper chambers called the atria and two lower chambers called the ventricles. The left side of the heart usually receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body, while the right side receives de-oxygenated blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. As the blood is pumped through each chamber, it passes through a one-way valve. Valves are thin, strong flaps called as cusps or leaflets.

Mitral Valve is a bicuspid (two leaves) valve that is present between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Tricuspid Valve is present between the right atrium and right ventricle. These two valves are collectively called as the “Atrioventricular valves”. The semilunar valves are valves that are present between the ventricles and the arteries leaving the ventricles. Aortic valve is present between the left ventricle and aorta. The pulmonary valve or pulmonic valve is present between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.

The atrioventricular valves are attached to the inside wall of the ventricle, on small muscles called “papillary muscles”, by fibrous structures called as “chordae tendinae”. These two structures are called the subvalvular apparatus, which prevent the valves from prolapsing into the atrium. When the upper chambers or atria contract the atrioventricular valves opens into the ventricles allowing blood to fill the bottom chamber. The valves close with the increase of pressure in the ventricles before it contracts. The blood is then pumped through the semilunar or aortic valves to the great arteries.

A diseased valve does not allow the unimpeded flow of blood. A narrowed or constricted valve makes it hard for the blood to flow to the next chamber. This is called “Valvular Stenosis”. If the mitral valve were to leak; the blood would get pumped back into the lungs when the ventricles contract through the atrium. This is called “Valvular Insufficiency, Incompetence or Regurgitation”. In both conditions, blood supply to the body is compromised. Mild stenosis or regurgitation may not cause any difference in the heart function. Progression in the disease causes the heart to work harder to keep up with the demand of the body. Incapacitating symptoms occur when left untreated.

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Patients undergoing mitral valve replacement are susceptible to the following risks. Bleeding, infection, complex reaction to anesthetic. The risk involved in most cases can be determined by the physician and it depends on a variety of factors such as the patient’s age, general condition, specific medical problems and heart functions.

Alternative treatment is Balloon valvuloplasty.Balloon valvuloplasty is performed using a catheter, i.e. a very thin flexible tube which can be inserted into the body, with a balloon at the end. The balloon is put inside the valve and is expanded thus stretching the valve and bringing it back to its normal size. For more info: heart-consult.com/articles.

can you pl guide me what to do i have mitral valve balooning twice after gap of 10 years and presently,I am only 30 years old.I am on acitrom 2 mg [Anticoagulant], metolar 25 mg and Penicilin 10 lacs once in three weeks.I am having feeling of irregular heart beating and sometimes irregular palpitations.I had undergone check up in 2008 june last time everything was ok and there was no need of balloning that time.Is it possible that there may be severe damage only in these two yaers that is between 2008 to 2010.Pl suggest and what could be the situation.


hallo, i am suffering from mitral valve stenosis for about 3.5jear. am like you help me without operation.


My mother had sucessive surgery. I flew her to NYC to see Dr David Adams ..the worlds greatest in mitral valve repair and replacement. His entire team at Mount Sinai is fabulous. He see patients from around the world.


i am suffering from Mitral stenosis(Moderate-severe)and Mitral regurgitation(Mild-moderate).The disease surfaced some 5/6 months back.i am intrested in the latest non surgical treatment.please guide/help me.thanks with regards,waiting for your reply.


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