Mitral valve

Last revised by Dr Joachim Feger on 25 Aug 2021

The mitral valve (MV) (or bicuspid valve) is one of the four cardiac valves. It is the atrioventricular valve that allows blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. It opens during diastole and closes during systole. The valve has anterior and posterior leaflets (cusps), the bases of which attach around the AV orifice to a fibrous ring, known as the mitral valve annulus (MVA), forming part of the fibrous skeleton of the heart. The chordae tendineae are thin strong inelastic fibrous chords that extend from the free edge of the cusps to the apices of the papillary muscles within the left ventricle. Both cusps receive chordae tendineae from both papillary muscles. The anterior cusp is thicker and more mobile than the posterior cusp, and in general, the cusps of the mitral valve are smaller and thicker than those of the tricuspid valve.

Related pathology

History and etymology

The Latin word 'mitra' refers to a turban used to describe the ceremonial head-dress as worn by Catholic bishops (hence the modern word mitre). The valve was initially described as resembling such a hat.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: sectional cardiac anatomy (creative commons illustration)
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  • Figure 2: cardiac fibrous skeleton (Gray's illustration)
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