Experts characterize heart valve disease as the dysfunction of one or more of the heart's four valves. More than five million Americans receive this relatively common diagnosis every year. In a healthy individual, blood flows one way through the heart: it goes from the top chamber, into the bottom chamber, then to the body. With damaged valves, however, two issues arise. Both regurgitation and stenosis may or may not require surgical treatment.
Our hearts have four different valves—pulmonary, tricuspid, aortic, and mitral. Together, these components ensure the blood in the heart flows strictly in one direction. In general, most problems that arise from valve disease involve the aortic and mitral valve located on the left side of the organ.
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