The aortic valve is one of the four heart valves . It has a shape reminiscent of a crescent , so it is also called aortic semilunar . It is a valve located between the left ventricle and the aorta , and necessary to ensure that oxygen-laden blood does not go back in its cycle.
What is the aortic valve?
The heart is an organ designed to carry oxygen-laden blood to the rest of the body (cells, tissues and organs) in order to feed them, and receive carbon dioxide-rich blood to be sent to the lungs . For this purpose, the heart is divided into several parts, and equipped with valves.
The heart valves are small structures than as “taps” have a duty to ensure that the flow of blood from the heart continues in one direction, preventing turn back.
Specifically, the aortic valve is located on a muscle ring , which connects it to the wall of the heart, and is made up of three layers (cusps) consisting mainly of collagen which take the form of a half moon.
What is the aortic valve for?
The heart is the pump that allows you to transport the oxygen received from the lungs to the cells of tissues and organs and to exchange carbon dioxide, which is a waste of the metabolic activity of the cells, at the level of the lungs. It is the pivot of blood circulation . For its part, the aorta provides nourishment for the whole body, as it allows oxygenated blood to travel through the body and reach organs and tissues. The aorta divides into several smaller and smaller branches and capillaries . The blood with carbon dioxide waste back to the heart through veins .
The aortic valve controls the passage between the left ventricle and the aorta with the task of ensuring that oxygenated blood does not come back. In fact, the cardiac cycle consists of two phases: the diastole , or relaxation phase, and the systole , or contraction phase.
Atria and ventricles contract in a coordinated way: first the atria and then the ventricles .
During the diastole phase , the valves between the atria and ventricles are open and blood flows regularly between the chambers and atria. At this time the semilunar valves are closed, to prevent blood from entering the vascular beds. When blood pressure rises in the ventricle, the systolic phase takes place . Here, the valve opens allowing blood to pass into the aorta . When pressure increases in the aorta, the valve closes to prevent blood from returning to the heart.
Defects of the aortic valve can compromise the functioning of the circulation . These are aortic stenosis and aortic insufficiency . Both pathologies can be treated with a delicate surgical operation to replace the aortic valve.