Lectures / 02/11/2009 7:30 pmBody?
How do heart valves work?
The human heart has four heart valves that maintain the unidirectional flow of blood. In anatomic parlance a distinction is made between two atrioventricular and two semilunar valves.
For circulation to function the aortic and the mitral valves are particularly important. Apart from congenital heart valve abnormalities that have to be surgically corrected very early on in childhood, calcification and the resulting valve stenosis are the most common causes of functional problems of the aorta. Among abnormalities affecting the mitral valve so-called insufficiency, which basically amounts to leakage in the valve, is the most common cause of malfunction.
The lecture is going to focus on the different function of the valves and on possible abnormalities. Valvular heart defects have become much easier to repair over the last years. Valves can be replaced either by biological or by artificial heart valves; in cases where the mitral valve is affected, repair of the patient’s own valve is the aim of surgical intervention. We will also be discussing minimally invasive methods that have only been developed over the last few years.