Human Heart Valves – Anatomy, Helpful 3D Animation

This is very interesting!!! (Especially, for those of you wanting to learn more about human heart valve anatomy.)

I just came across a three dimensional, reconstructive image of the human heart valves. While this animation also shows echocardiogram images (on the left), I was more fascinated with the colorful, 3D presentation of the heart valves opening-and-closing (on the right).

If you look close at this 3D image of the heart, you can see the leaflets of the mitral valve, the aortic valve and the tricuspid valve. Unfortunately, the pulmonary valve is not visible.

3D Image Of The Mitral Valve

So you know…

When I learned that I needed aortic and pulmonary valve replacement operation, I wanted to learn as much as possible about the human heart and its heart valves. My hope is that these types of pictures will help future patients and their caregivers better understand the anatomy of their own hearts before heart valve repair or heart valve replacement operations.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

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  • Skyler Salazar

    My 8 year old son, who was born with tetralogy of fallot, has undergone 2 surgeries already…once at 3 months of age and once at 6 years…the first time in the US at Ochsner Clinic in LA and the second time in San Jose Costa Rica…he got a horrible pneumonia in october of last year and was inthe hospital until January….while in the hospital he contracted a bacteria…streptococcus….and it ate the entire repair they had done two years ago….now he is in need of another valve….the drs. want to put a mechanical valve in……what can be done….will he be ok….what do i do for him….help me please….

  • Sandra Anderson

    Dear Skyler, I can simpathise with what you’re going through. My 23 year old son was also a “blue baby” and has undergone four surgeries. As a psychiatrist, I worked or many years, helping children and parents of children who were undergoing life threatening procedures. What your son had is known as rheumatic fever, bacteria eating up the repaired heart tissue and often causing a high risk of trombosis (a fragment of cardiac tissue breaking off and entering the bloodstream). In the case of a Tet repair, it is the pulmonary not the aorta which has been replaced, meaning this tissue would end up in the lungs rather than the brain. If the endocarditis is encapsulated, your son should be treated with a high dose of antibiotics as well as a blood thinner, in order to dissolve any fragment that could potentially break appart. I don’t know, in your sons case, if the bacteria has been controlled yet, if encapsulated it could be quite stubborn and resistant to the antibiotic tratment, often taking months months of hospitalization. Normally, surgeons will not proceed until the infection clears out entirely, in order to prevent the risk of it spreading to other organs of the patient’s body. In his particular case, the doctors my opt for a mechanical valve to prevent the infection from reocurring. Once a patient has had rheumatic fever, the person becomes very susceptible to acquiring it again.
    There are several types of mechanical valves; the surgeons will know which is most suitable in your son’s case. Mechanical valves normally work well and newer models have become virtually silent. At the time of the procedure, his doctors will talk to you about the need of an anti-cuagulant to avoid clogging of the valve.
    With all he’s been put through, It sounds like your son is quite a tough boy; from a physical standpoint, I’m certain he will handle the surgery just fine, however you must be aware that with the use of blood thinners on a regular basis, his lifestyle is likely to change, even more so if he’s an active 8 year old. The recovery process itself, tends to get tougher the older the they get , and the outcome of his surgery really will depend mostly on his emotional condition; when we’re mentally ready to put up a fight… we have a higher chance overcome any obstacle, When we are not mentally strong… we give up and then it’s all over!
    It is highly important that you, your husband and any other members of the family, stick together and stay possitive so that you transmit that strenght to him. If you are not united as a team, then your son has nothing worth fighting for. At this point, all you MUST do is show him a QUALITY life as he awaits his surgery; I do not mean this in a material way, I mean love and happiness. It is important, if you and your husband have other children, that they MUST also understand the importance of this.
    At the age of 8, both parents are the child’s support mechanism, if this mechanism falls appart… the child alone WILL NOT have the strenght to pull through! This is THE KEY to the upcome of his surgery and a long life afterwards… Allow the doctors to do their part… you as parents must keep focuse on your part!
    It is often common for us as parents to completely fall apart emotionally as a result of our child’s health condition, and when that is the case… all else goes wrong, making matters even more difficult both for us as well as for the child!
    Skyler, if you and your husband are persons of faith, you must FIRST put it all in God’s hands, He will give you as parents the strenght you need, in order to help your son pull through his surgery!
    I will keep you all in my prayers, as well as the entire team performing your son’s proceedure.

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