Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

About Heart Valve Disease

Heart Valves The valves of the heart open and close to control the flow of blood entering or leaving the heart.

Your heart consists of four chambers, and at the exit of each chamber is a set of flaps called valve. Your heart valves keep your blood flowing in the right direction, and when a valve either does not let enough blood through or doesn't seal properly, serious complications can arise.

The heart has four valves that open and close to maintain blood flow in one direction.

  • Oxygen-poor blood enters the right atrium (upper-right chamber) and passes through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle (lower-right chamber).
  • From the right ventricle, the blood flows through the pulmonary valve on its way to the lungs.
  • Upon entering the left atrium (upper-left chamber) from the lungs, blood flows through the mitral valve into the left ventricle (lower-left chamber).
  • From the left ventricle, the blood exits through the aortic valve on its way to the rest of the body.

Valve disease is a condition in which valves in the heart are not working correctly. This often occurs either:

  • When the valves stiffen and narrow upon opening, not allowing enough blood to pass through (called stenosis), or
  • When the valves do not close correctly, which can lead to blood leakage and backflow (called regurgitation or insufficiency).

Learn more about valve disease:

For more information about valve disease or to make an appointment, please call 713-441-2863 or complete the Contact Us online form.