Glossary of Terms
The aortic valve is one of the 4 valves located in the human (mammalian) heart. All of the valves in the heart are one-way valves and, if functioning normally, allow blood flow in only one direction. The aortic valve is located at the beginning of the ascending aorta and allows newly oxygenated blood to leave the left ventricle and be transported to the body's organs. The aortic valve is typically made up of three leaflets, which open and close with the heart cycle. The aortic valve can cause problems by either becoming too narrow, a condition known as aortic valve stenosis. If the valve leaflets do not close properly, the aortic valve can leak and no longer function as a one-way valve, which is referred to as aortic valve insufficiency or regurgitation. Aortic stenosis or insufficiency can be treated successfully with surgery.