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Heart Valve Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


2. How Do Heart Valves Operate?

The heart contains four valves — two on each side — that are designed to keep the blood flowing in and out of your heart, as well as moving in the right direction. The blood flow inside your heart is a one-way street, with the valves ensuring that the right amounts of blood flow into your heart and that none of it accidentally starts to flow backwards.

Blood flows into the ventricles through atrias on both sides, while the tricuspid and mitral valves are open. When the ventricles are full, those two valves shut to prevent back flow. When the ventricles contract, the blood is forced through the pulmonary and aortic valves, where arteries carry the blood to various parts of the body. Once the force of the blood subsides, those two valves once again shut to prevent blood from travelling in the wrong direction.

This cycle repeats over and over again, cycling your blood through your heart.

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