What're heart valves?The heart is a muscular pump divided into two sides. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs to load it with oxygen, and the left side pumps oxygenated blood around the body. The heart has four valves. On each side there are two chambers - the ventricle and the atrium. Separating the chambers are heart valves. On the right, this is called the tricuspid valve, and on the left, the mitral valve. There are also valves on each side between the heart and the major blood vessel
taking blood away from the heart. On the right this is the pulmonary valve. On the left, between the left ventricle and the aorta, is the aortic valve.
AV valves are large, multicusped valves that prevent backflow from the ventricles into the atria during systole. They are anchored to the wall of the ventricle by chordae tendinae, that prevent the valve from inverting. The chordae tendinae are attached to papillary muscles that cause tension to better hold the valve. Together, the papillary muscles and the chordae tendinae are known as the subvalvular apparatus. The function of the subvalvular apparatus is to keep the valves from prolapsing into the atria when they close. The subvalvular apparatus have no effect on the opening and closure of the valves, however. This is caused entirely by the pressure gradient across the valve. Mitral valve, also known as the bicuspid valve, the mitral valve gets its name from the resemblance to a bishop's mitre (a type of hat). It prevents blood flowing from the left ventricle into the left atrium. As it is on the left side of the heart, in must cope with a lot of strain and pressure, this is while it is made of only two cusps, as there is less to go wrong. A common complication of rheumatic fever is thickening and stenosis of the mitral valve. The tricuspid valve is on the right side of the heart, between the right atrium and the right ventricle. Being the first valve after the venae cavae, and thus the whole venous system, it is the most common valve to be infected (endocarditis) in IV drug users.
Semilunar valves are positioned on the pulmonary artery and the aorta. These valves to not have chordae tendinae, but are more similar to valves in veins. The aortic valve lies between the left ventricle and the aorta. The aortic valve has three cusps. During ventricular systole, pressure rises in the left ventricle. When the pressure in the left ventricle rises above the pressure in the aorta, the aortic valve opens, allowing blood to exit the left ventricle into the aorta. When ventricular systole ends, pressure in the left ventricle rapidly drops. When the pressure in the left ventricle decreases, the aortic pressure forces the aortic valve to close. The closure of the aortic valve contributes the A2 component of the second heart sound (S2). The most common congenital abnormality of the heart is the bicuspid aortic valve. In this condition, instead of three cusps, the aortic valve has two cusps. This condition is often undiagnosed until the person develops calcific aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis occurs in this condition usually in patients in their 40s or 50s, an average of 10 years earlier than in people with normal aortic valves. The pulmonic valve lies between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. Similar to the aortic valve, the pulmonic valve opens in ventricular systole, when the pressure in the right ventricle rises above the pressure in the pulmonary artery. At the end of ventricular systole, when the pressure in the right ventricle falls rapidly, the pressure in the pulmonary artery will close the pulmonic valve. The closure of the pulmonic valve contributes the P2 component of the second heart sound (S2). The right heart is a low pressure system, so the P2 component of the second heart sound is usually softer than the A2 component of the second heart sound.