True or False: Mitral Valve Replacements Have Only Two Leaflets

Are you ready for some interesting trivia about heart valve replacement devices?

The mitral valve is the only human heart valve that is bicuspid. Bicuspid means the valve has only two leaflets. Alternatively, each of the other heart valves (aortic, pulmonary, tricuspid) have three distinct valve leaflets – also known as heart valve flaps. Please see the top-side view of the human heart diagram below.

In light of this information, my true/false quiz to you is, “Mitral valve replacements have only two leaflets to best mimic the genetic and evolutionary design of the mitral valve.”

So… What do you think? Is that statement true or false?

I hate to be a trickster but the answer to that question is:

It depends.

  • On one hand, the statement is true. There are certain mechanical valve replacements that are designed with two swiveling leaflets used to manage the flow of blood through the heart. You can see an example of the On-X mitral valve replacement below.
  • On the other hand, the statement is false. There are several tissue valve replacements that use three leaflets to enhance the flow of blood through the heart. Below you can see a picture of an Edwards pericardial tissue valve – also knows as a cow valve replacement.

I hope this post helped you learn more about mitral valve replacements and mitral valve leaflets.

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 HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Jean

    Adam, I just had aortic valve replacement on Nov 17, 08, and was told by the surgeon that I had 4 leaflets to my aortic valve and this was congenital. Amazing heh? Obviously, some werent working properly. Jean Karloski

  • Whoa Jean!

    Four leaflets in your aortic valve?

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a quadruple leaflet valve.

    Amazing how are bodies can evolve and transform.

    Keep on tickin!

    Adam

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