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Heart Valves: Anatomy and Function

Introduction to the Anatomy of the Heart Valves:

image descriptionFour valves maintain the unidirectional flow of blood through the heart. The valves are located between the atria and ventricles and in the two arteries that empty blood from the ventricles.

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The four valves of the heart.

They are composed mostly of fibrous connective tissue that extends from the heart walls. The external surfaces of the valves are covered by endocardium.

  1. The image descriptionright atrioventricular valve (or AV valve) controls blood flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
Interior view of the heart valves
Interior view of the right AV valve
Internal view of the right AV valve.
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Because it is composed of three cusps or flaps this valve is also called the image descriptiontricuspid valve.

Unlabelled image of the superior view of the valves of the heart
Superior view of the tricuspid valve of the heart
Superior view of the tricuspid valve
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  1. The image descriptionleft atrioventricular valve (or AV valve) controls blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
Interior view of the heart valves
Interior view of the left AV valve
Interior view of the left atrioventricular valve.
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It is made up of two cusps or flaps, so it is often called the image descriptionbicuspid valve.  The term mitral valve is also commonly applied because the left AV valve is shaped somewhat like a bishop’s miter (L., mitra, headdress).

Unlabelled image of the superior view of the valves of the heart
Superior view of the bicuspid valve of the heart
Superior view of the bicuspid valve.
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Thin, tendon-like cords (image descriptionchordae tendineae) connect the AV valves to cone-shaped muscles that extend upward from the myocardium (the image descriptionpapillary muscles).

The chordae tindineae and papillary muscles tether the AV valves to the ventricular walls. This allows the valves to close properly and not bulge (or prolapse) into the atria.

Interior view of the heart valves
Interior view of the Chordae tendineae
Interior view of the papillary muscle
Interior view of the chordae tendineae, and papillary muscles.
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  1. image descriptionSemilunar valves (L., semis, half + luna, moon) direct blood flow from the ventricles into the aorta and pulmonary trunk artery.
Interior view of the heart valves
Interior view of the Pulmonary semilunar valve and the aortic semilunar valve
Interior view of the semilunar valves.
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The valves are located in the vessels just above the openings to ventricles and image descriptionconsist of three cusps that curve upward to form a small pocket.

Unlabelled image of the superior view of the valves of the heart
Superior view of the Pulmonary semilunar valve and the aortic semilunar valve
Superior view of the semilunar valves.
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image descriptionValve movement:

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The movement of the valves as seen superioraly and interiorly.

Test yourself:

Interior view of the heart valves: [image descriptionShow/image descriptionHide answers]

Test yourself image for the interior view of the heart valves with answers hidden
Test yourself image for the interior view of the heart valves with answers shown: pulmonary semilunar valve, right av valve, chordae tindinae, papillary muscle, aortic valve, left av valve.
Review the interior view of the valves of the heart and test yourself.
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Test yourself:

Superior view of the heart valves: [image descriptionShow/image descriptionHide answers]

Test yourself image for the superior view of the heart valves with answers hidden
Test yourself image for the superior view of the heart valves with answers shown: tricuspid valve (right AV) valve, aortic semilunar valve, bicuspid (left AV valve, pulmonary semilunar valve.
Review the superior view of the valves of the heart and test yourself.
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