What Is the Purpose of Heart Valves?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 8, 2020 7:52:19 AM ET

Heart valves work together to ensure blood circulates to other parts of the body. The four valves of the heart are the tricuspid valve, mitral valve, aortic valve and pulmonary valve, according to the American Heart Association.

The tricuspid valve closes off the right atrium, opens to allow blood to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle and prevents blood from flowing back into the right atrium after it is pumped out of the right ventricle. The mitral valve has similar functions, except it works with the left atrium and ventricle. The valve closes off the left atrium and opens to allow blood to flow from the atrium to the left ventricle, reports the American Heart Association.

The aortic and pulmonary valves also have similar functions. The aortic valve closes the left ventricle and opens to allow blood to flow into the aorta. From the aorta, blood is circulated to other parts of the body. The pulmonary valve closes the right ventricle and opens to allow blood to flow into the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery carries blood into the lungs for oxygenation, states the American Heart Association. If any of these valves do not work properly, there is a risk of blood flowing in the wrong direction or not circulating through the body effectively.