The mitral valve(also called the bicuspid valve) separates the upper left heart chamber from the lower left heart chamber, and helps control blood flow through the heart.

During each heartbeat, the smaller upper chambers of the heart (atria) contract to push blood into the larger lower chambers (ventricles).

The mitral valve opens to allow this passage of blood from the left atrium, and closes when the left ventricle is full of blood, to prevent backflow.

When the valve closes, its two leaflets (flaps)normally seal the valve shut. Tendons attached to these flapskeep them taut and prevent them collapsing through to the other side.

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Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Jun 2016