J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Macro photo of the human mitral heart valve, which controls the flow of blood from left atrium into the left ventricle. This aspect is from the ventricle, looking towards the upper atrium. The mitral valve consists of two flaps (cusps), which function to allow a one-way flow of blood from atrium to ventricle. Defects of the mitral valve include mitral incompetence, the failure of the valve to close that allows a reverse flow of blood & mitral stenosis, the narrowing of the valve due to scarring following rheumatic fever. Severe cases of either of these defects require the insertion of a mitral prosthesis, an artificial valve.
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