Did you know that your heart …
- Pumps about 70 times a minute and more than 2.5 billion times over your lifetime
- Moves more than 2,000 gallons of blood each day
During the pumping process, your heart pushes blood from one chamber to another. Heart valves keep the blood moving forward, rather than flowing back into the chamber from which it came.
Your heart has four valves:
- Aortic Valve
- Mitral Valve
- Tricuspid Valve
- Pulmonary Valve
Each valve has leaflets, or flaps, that open and close to keep the blood moving in only one direction. Valves fail when:
- The leaflets become stiff and don’t open and close properly. This condition is called stenosis. Stenosis causes the valve opening to narrow. It can occur with age (degenerative) or be present at birth (congenital).
- The valve leaks and lets blood flow backwards. This condition is called regurgitation or insufficiency. It can be present at birth (congenital), or it can be caused by an injury such as a small tear (dissection) or trauma, infection, or inflammation, such as endocarditis or rheumatic heart disease.
Valves that don’t work properly make the heart work harder. Valves that fail require evaluation and may eventually require repair or replacement. The Structural Heart and Valve Disease team cares for patients with: