What Are the Heart Valves?

The heart is a muscular organ.  It has four chambers and one valve per chamber to ensure that the blood keeps pumping in the correct direction.  The circulation makes a “figure of 8” path delivering oxygen to the body and then replenishing the oxygen in the lungs:

The left side of the heart

The “left” side of the heart pumps the blood full of oxygen to the other organs and tissues.

The blood, replenished with oxygen from the lungs, returns to the collecting chamber the left atrium.

The blood then passes into the left ventricle through the mitral valve to the main pumping chamber, the left ventricle.

The blood is forcefully pumped out of the left ventricle  into the main artery of the body called the “Aorta”, through the aortic valve.

The blood then passes down the arteries to the periphery as a “pulse”.

The right side of the heart

Once the blood has delivered the oxygen to the tissues of the body, the blood appears “bluer”.  It returns slowly back the heart in the sluggish veins.

When the venous blood returns to the heart it arrives in the collecting chamber of the “right” side, the right atrium.  From there it passes through the tricuspid valve into the main pumping chamber of the right side, the right ventricle.

The right ventricle pumps the blood to the lungs through the pulmonary valve to the lungs where the blood is once again replenished with oxygen ready to do the trip again.

How much blood does the heart pump?

The heart at rest pumps approximately 70ml of blood per heartbeat, 72 beats per minute.

That gives a total of 5 litres of blood per minute through each chamber and each valve!

Related Conditions and Procedures

What Is Mitral Regurgitation (MR)?

A heart murmur is the sound of turbulent blood flow that can be heard with a stethoscope.

What Is Aortic Stenosis (AS)?

Aortic Stenosis (AS) is when the aortic valve is narrowed, limiting the blood flow.

What Is Aortic Regurgitation (AR)?

Aortic Regurgitation (AR) is when the aortic valve is leaking.

What Is a Surgical Mitral Valve Replacement (SMVR) Procedure?

Surgical replacement of the mitral valve

What Is a Surgical Aortic Valve Valvuloplasty (SAVV) Procedure?

Surgical replacement of the aortic valve

What Is a Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR) Procedure?

Surgical replacement of the aortic valve