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Aortic valve

Recommended video: Heart valves [16:57]
Overview of the heart valves and related structures.

The aortic valve is one of four valves of the heart, along with the mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary valves. The aortic valve separates the left ventricle from the ascending aorta. In most cases, it is composed of three semilunar cusps. However, in some cases, it can be bicuspid or quadricuspid. The cusps of the aortic valve are concave when viewed from a superior perspective and are not supported by tendinous tissue. The cusp margins are thickened and support each other forming the lunule

The aortic valves are shaped and function like an 'umbrella'. The cusps project into the artery and are completely open during systole. During the relaxation of the myocardial wall (diastole), the elastic wall of the aorta pushes the blood back into the heart. However, the shape of the cusps and the aortic root activate the cusps and completely close the aortic valve. This process prevents the reverse blood flow into the left ventricle. 

In surface anatomy, the aortic valve projects along the left margin of the sternum at the level of the 3rd intercostal space. However, this valve is auscultated at the second intercostal space on the opposite side of the sternum.

Terminology English: Aortic valve
English synonym:
Left ventriculoarterial junction, Left semilunar valve
: Valva aortae
Latin synonym
: Valvula semilunaris sinistra
Definition A heart valve situated between the left ventricle and the ascending aorta.
Function Facilitates the blood flow from the left ventricle to the ascending aorta during systole and prevents the flow from the aorta to the left ventricle during diastole
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