The Aortic Valve
Aorta | Aortic Valve | Aortic Root | Ascending Aorta | Aortic Arch | Descending Aorta | Abdominal Aorta
The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart (the main pumping chamber of the heart) and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body and carries the entire output of blood. The aortic valve normally consists of three leaflets. When the heart contracts, it forces blood through the valve to the aorta and then to the rest of the body. When the heart relaxes, the aortic valve prevents the blood from leaking (or regurgitating) back into the ventricle.
The valvular appartus begins at the aortic annulus and extends to the sinotubular junction. Between each commissure of the aortic valve and opposite the cusps of the aortic valve, there are three small dilatations called the aortic sinuses. The sinotubular junction is the point in the ascending aorta where the aortic sinuses end and the aorta becomes a tubular structure.
The valve may become leaky (aka regurgutant) as a result of enlargement (or dilatation) of the aortic annulus. This may also result from structural defects in the valve leaflets. Conversely, the valve may become narrowed (or stenotic) resulting in the restriction blood flow.
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