Anatomy of the aortic valve
The aortic valve is one of the four heart valves and is located between the main artery (aorta) and the left ventricle. The aortic valve is a pocket valve and usually consists of a total of 3 pocket valves. Sometimes, however, there are only two pocket valves.
The pockets have an indentation which fill with blood when the aortic valve is closed. They also all have a small fibrous knot that comes together when the valve is closed. Above the aortic valve the right and the left coronary vessel emerges. The valve is formed in the foetus in the 5th to 7th week of embryonic development. – Valvula semilunaris dextra, a right crescent shaped
- Valvula semilunaris dextra, a left
- Valvula semilunaris septalis, a posterior
Function of the aortic valve
The aortic valve serves as an outlet valve for the heart and prevents the blood from flowing back into the left ventricle from the aorta. When the heart contracts in the cardiac action, blood is pumped from the left main chamber by pressure into the aorta and thus enters the body’s circulation. Afterwards the heart has to go limp again in order to fill up with blood again, if the aortic valve would not exist, the pumped blood would have to flow back. That is why the aortic valve closes during this phase and thus prevents the backflow. The closing of the valve can be heard when listening to the patient as a so-called second heart sound.
Diseases of the aortic valve
Aortic valve insufficiencyIf the closure of the aortic valve no longer works, this is called aortic valve insufficiency, i.e. the blood flows back into the heart. Aortic valve stenosisThe opposite of this is aortic valve stenosis, in which the aortic valve does not open enough and the blood can only flow with difficulty from the heart into the body’s circulation. Both diseases lead to an overload of the heart and, in the further course, to cardiac insufficiency, since more force must be applied to achieve the same outflow as with a healthy valve.