Heart Valve Histology
- From a histological perspective the heart valves can be thought of as a double-sided flattening of the basic cardiovascular histological layers (See: Cardiovascular Histology). Specialized histological features of the Heart Valves include the fact that they are primarily composed of a tough, specialized Tunica Intima in the absence of the other vascular layers.
- Tunica Intima
- Heart Valves are essentially generated from the double-sided fusion of the Tunica Intima emanating from the cardiac wall. The endothelium is continuous with that of the cardiac wall while the normally delicate collagenous layer which invests the endothelium toughens and becomes highly fibrous as it transitions into the heart valve. Consequently, heart valves are highly thin yet extremely robust, allowing for hundreds of millions of open-close events during the course of a lifetime.