Your heart has four compartments or chambers. The right chambers hold returning blood and pump it i...
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Your heart has four compartments or chambers. The right chambers hold returning blood and pump it into the lungs. The left chambers collect and pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The upper chambers or atria hold the blood and the ventricles on the bottom pump it out. The aortic valve is on the left side of the heart. It opens to let blood flow from the left ventricle into the aorta, which carries blood to the rest of the body. It closes between heartbeats to keep blood from moving back into the ventricle. When the aortic valve doesn't open or close as it should, the heart has to work harder to pump enough blood through the valve into the aorta. This can cause symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath. A common cause is being born with a valve that has one or two rather than three tissue flaps, called leaflets. This can prevent the valve from opening properly - called stenosis - or closing properly - called regurgitation. Another common cause is that the valve becomes worn with age. When this happens, the body deposits calcium on the leaflets, which can limit their movements so they can't fully open or close. A faulty aortic valve may need to be surgically replaced with an artificial or prosthetic valve.