A series of one-way valves within the heart keeps the blood moving smoothly in the right direction. A valve that does not fully close, or that does not fully open, impedes the efficient functioning of the heart. In serious cases this puts the patient at risk for heart failure, arrhythmia, or other issues. Several surgical and interventional procedures are available to correct valve problems, whether through repair or, occasionally, replacement. Depending on the location and what needs to be done, the procedure may be performed using open surgery or minimally invasive approaches.
The right side of the heart takes in oxygen-depleted blood from the rest of the body and sends it to the lungs through the pulmonary valve. The more powerful left side of the heart receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the rest of the body through the aortic valve. The mitral valve separates the two left heart chambers on the left side, and the tricuspid valve does the same on the right side.