Four valves within the heart prevent blood from flowing backward in the heart. The valves open easily in the direction of blood flow, but when blood pushes against the valves in the opposite direction, the valves close. Two valves, known as atrioventricular valves, are located between the atria and ventricles.
The right atrioventricular valve is formed from three flaps of tissue and is called the tricuspid valve. The left atrioventricular valve has two flaps and is called the bicuspid or mitral valve. The other two heart valves are located between the ventricles and arteries. They are called semilunar valves because they each consist of three half-moon-shaped flaps of tissue. The right semilunar valve, between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery, is also called the pulmonary valve. The left semilunar valve, between the left ventricle and aorta, is also called the aortic valve.