Mitral Valve Disease
About Heart Valves
Four valves inside your heart ensure that the blood flows in just one direction:
The mitral valve is in the left side of your heart, between the left atrium (upper chamber) and the left ventricle (lower chamber).
The tricuspid is between the upper and lower chambers on the right side.
Your heart pumps blood to your body through the aortic valve.
Your blood is pumped to your lungs through the pulmonic valve.
Protects Against Backward Blood Flow
Valves are similar to doors that open and shut. They consist of small flaps of tissue, called leaflets, that open to allow blood to move forward through your heart during half of the heartbeat and close to prevent blood from flowing backward during the other half of the beat. The leaflets in two of the valves, the mitral on the left and the tricuspid on the right -- also have tough, fibrous strands of tissue called chordae tendineae that connect the valves to the muscles inside the ventricle walls. These strands and muscles keep the leaflets stable, protecting against any backward blood flow.
Most Common Mitral Valve Disorders
Heart valve disease can cause valves to be leaky, tight, or both. The mitral and aortic valves most often develop problems. Among the most common problems involving the mitral valve are: