graphic of the heartYour heart may only be about the size of your fist, but it’s a very powerful muscle. This special muscle located in your chest has an extremely important job. It makes sure your blood gets to your whole body which delivers oxygen, nutrients and also carries away waste. The heart acts as a machine beating more than 2.5 billion times over the average lifespan without ever pausing. It provides the power for life.

Heart Valve Function

The heart has four heart valves:

graphic of interior of heart
  • Mitral Valve. This valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle and is the most common valve to require repair.
  • Tricuspid Valve. This valve is located between the upper-right chamber (right atrium) and the lower-right chamber (right ventricle) of the heart.
  • Pulmonic Valve. Also known as the pulmonary valve, this valve is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery, which is the main artery carrying oxygen-poor blood from the heart to the lungs for more oxygen.
  • Aortic Valve. This valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, which is the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Each of these heart valves has its own set of gates or flaps. In a normally functioning heart, these flaps swing open to let blood flow from one area to the next, then neatly close again until the next cycle begins. Any restriction or narrowing of the valve opening limits blood flow. Any leaking of the blood back in the wrong direction could lead to more serious problems if left untreated.

Coronary Arteries Function

The coronary arteries work to provide a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart. This keeps the heart healthy and functionally properly. The coronary arteries control the amount of blood sent to your heart based on its need of oxygen. Your heart rate, blood pressure, heart’s contractions and the thickness of the muscle affect your need for need for oxygen. The coronary arteries need to dilate properly to supply the necessary amount oxygen to your heart. The harder you heart has to pump, the more oxygen it requires.

Heart Disease

Our cardiothoracic surgeons understand all aspects of heart disease and its different forms. A common type of heart disease we treat is coronary artery disease. This occurs when the coronary arteries become blocked which stops blood from reaching the heart.

Other types of heart disease we treat include:

  • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy
  • Aortic regurgitation
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart tumor
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertension
  • Abnormal heart valve function
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Weakening of the heart's pumping ability