The Heart is a beautiful device pumping about 4-6 litres of blood every minute for optimal functioning of body. The Heart has 4 chambers, 2 on the Right side and 2 on the left; the upper chamber on the right side is called as right atrium, and the lower chamber is known as right ventricle, similarly on the left side we have the left atrium and left ventricle.
● Low oxygenated blood or commonly called as impure blood, has to travel co-ordinately in the Heart and lungs to supply pure oxygenated blood to the body.
● Low oxygenated or impure blood from the body enters right atrium and travels in a series through -> Right ventricle -> Pulmonary artery -> goes to the lung for Oxygen and gets oxygenated or usually called as pure blood -> enters left side of Heart into Left atrium -> Left ventricle -> Aorta -> Body.
● This is made possible through an intricate system by having checkpoints at each level to allow blood only in one direction and avoid backflow. These checkpoints are known as valves.
How many valves in the Heart?
There are 4 major valves in the Heart. There are 2 valves on the Right side: Tricuspid and Pulmonary valve and 2 valves on the left side: Mitral and Aortic valve.
● Tricuspid valve: It is named as Tricuspid because it contains 3 leaflets/ flaps. This valve allows blood to flow from right atrium to right ventricle.
● Pulmonary valve: This valve lies between right ventricle and Pulmonary artery and allows blood to flow from Right ventricle to the pulmonary artery . This valve opens only when the tricuspid valve is closed so that blood from the Right ventricle goes only into the Pulmonary artery .
This coordination of the opening of one valve and closing of other valve during each beat is vital for blood to flow in one direction.
● Bicuspid / Mitral valve: This valve has 2 leaflets/flaps, allowing blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
● Aortic Valve: This valve is located at the junction between left ventricle and Aorta. Coordination between Mitral valve closure and opening of Aortic valve is maintained for unidirectional blood flow from left ventricle to the Aorta.
Blood Flow and Checkpoints
Low oxygenated/ Impure blood from the body enter right atrium -> via Tricuspid valve enters the right ventricle -> via pulmonary valve into pulmonary artery and blood pass through lung and gets oxygenated or purified and this blood enters the left heart upper chamber i.e. left atrium -> via Bicuspid/ mitral valve into left ventricle -> via Aortic valve into Aorta -> oxygenated/pure blood distributed to the body.
4 Chamber – 4 checkpoints i.e. valves.
Proper functioning and Synchrony between valves are necessary for unidirectional blood flow to serve the purpose of body functions.