What are the differences between the triscupid and biscupid valves?

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caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bicuspid and tricuspid valves are anatomical features of the heart, and their primary purpose is to ensure one-way flow of blood by blocking re-entry into the atria once blood has left them heading toward the ventricles. 

The primary difference between them is their location and their structure. Both valves are situated between the atria and ventricles, but the bicuspid is located in the left atria, and the tricuspid on the right. The differences in structure are indicated by their names; the "-cuspid" aspect indicates that the valves are physically composed of or incorporating cusps, which can best be described as tooth-like shapes that are broad at their base and narrow toward the tip. The bicuspid valve has two of these structures, and the tricuspid valve has three. 

The physiological reason behind having a two-cusp valve on one side and three on the other has to do with the pressure of the blood being pumped through them; the bicuspid valve is easier to open and therefore provides less resistance against the higher-pressure blood flowing through it, as compared to the tricuspid and right atrium.

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