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Mitral Valve Disease

About Heart Valves

Four Valves

Four valves inside your heart ensure that the blood flows in just one direction:

Function of the Mitral Valve in the Heart
  1. Mitral
    The mitral valve is in the left side of your heart, between the left atrium (upper chamber) and the left ventricle (lower chamber).

  2. Tricuspid
    The tricuspid is between the upper and lower chambers on the right side.

  3. Aortic
    Your heart pumps blood to your body through the aortic valve.

  4. Pulmonic
    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:

Contact Information

Cardiac Surgery
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building, 2A
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-632-8383