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What Is Heart Valve ?

The heart has four valves : — Aortic, Mitral, Tricuspid and Pulmonary Valves.

Like valves used in house plumbing, the heart valves open to allow fluid (blood) to be pumped forward, and they close to prevent fluid from flowing backward. Human heart valves are flaps of tissue called leaflets or cusps.

Heart valve problems fall into two categories: -

Stenosis :— The opening of the valve is too narrow, and this interferes with the forward flow of blood

Regurgitation :— The valve doesn't close properly. It leaks, sometimes causing a significant backflow of blood.

heart valve problems include:-

Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory illness that may follow an untreated strep throat infection
Endocarditis, inflammation and infection of the heart valves
Idiopathic calcific aortic stenosis, a degenerative condition seen in the elderly, in which the aortic valve cusps become thickened, fused and infiltrated with calcium
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan's syndrome

Aortic Valve :-

The aortic valve opens to allow blood to pass from the left ventricle to the aorta, the massive blood vessel that directs oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body disorders of this valve include:-

Congenital aortic stenosis : When a child is born with congenital aortic stenosis, the problem is usually a bicuspid aortic valve, meaning the valve has two flaps instead of the usual three.

Acquired aortic stenosis :In adulthood, aortic stenosis typically is caused by rheumatic fever or idiopathic calcific aortic stenosis

Aortic regurgitation : In aortic regurgitation, the aortic valve does not close properly, allowing blood to flow backward into the left ventricle

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Mitral Valve :-

The mitral valve opens to allow blood to pass from the left atrium to the left ventricle. Disorders of this valve include :-

Mitral stenosis : Congenital mitral stenosis is rare. The typical adult patient is a woman whose mitral valve was damaged by rheumatic fever.

Mitral regurgitation : As in mitral stenosis, the cause often is rheumatic fever, but the patient is usually an adult male. Mitral regurgitation can also result from heart attacks or any condition that changes the overall size and configuration of the left ventricle.

Mitral valve prolapse :In this condition, the leaflets of the mitral valve fail to close properly. It is a puzzling disorder that tends to affect women between the ages of 14 and 30. The underlying cause is unknown, and the majority of patients never have symptoms

Pulmonary Valve :-

The pulmonary valve, or pulmonic valve, is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. It allows oxygen-poor blood to flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs for oxygenation.Disorders of this valve include:-

Congenital pulmonic stenosis : In the relatively few newborns with severe congenital pulmonic stenosis, the child develops heart failure or cyanosis (a bluish color to the lips, fingernails and skin) within the first month of life. In most cases, the valve is deformed, with two or three leaflets partially fused.

Adult disorders of the pulmonic valve : In adults, the pulmonic valve most often is damaged because of pulmonary hypertension (abnormally high pressure within the blood vessels in the lungs), usually related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Damage from rheumatic fever and endocarditis is relatively rare

Tricuspid Valve :-

The tricuspid valve allows blood to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Disorders of this valve include :-

Tricuspid stenosis : This usually is caused by an episode of rheumatic fever, which often damages the mitral valve at the same time. Tricuspid stenosis is relatively uncommon in North America and Europe.

Tricuspid regurgitation : Tricuspid regurgitation typically occurs because of pulmonary hypertension, but it also can be caused by heart failure, myocardial infarction, endocarditis or trauma.

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If you are having symptoms, your doctor will begin by evaluating your risk of heart valve problems. Your doctor will ask questions about your family history of heart problems; your personal history of rheumatic fever, syphilis, hypertension, arteriosclerosis or connective tissue disorders; and your risk of endocarditis caused by intravenous (IV) drug use or a recent medical or dental procedure. If the patient is an infant, the doctor will ask about the mother's health or environmental risk factors during pregnancy.


There is no way to prevent the majority of congenital heart valve problems. Pregnant women should have regularly scheduled prenatal care and should avoid using alcohol. You can prevent many acquired heart valve abnormalities by preventing rheumatic fever. To do this, take antibiotics exactly as prescribed whenever you have strep throat.


Congenital heart valve problems :-

  1. Aortic stenosis

  2. Aortic regurgitation

  3. Mitral stenosis

  4. Mitral regurgitation

  5. Pulmonic valve problems

  6. Bicuspid stenosis

  7. Tricuspid regurgitation

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