cardiac valves (surface markings)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The surface markings on the anterior chest wall of the cardiac valves is typically retrosternal:

  • pulmonary valve: junction of superior and middle thirds of body of sternum and slightly to the left side; near to left third costal cartilage
  • aortic valve: just below and to the right of the pulmonary valve on left side of middle third of sternum; level with the third intercostal space
  • tricuspid valve: median plane in the inferior third of the sternal body; opposite the fourth costal cartilage
  • mitral valve: overlapping tricuspid area but more superior and to the left of sternal body

The surface markings of the valves are not the same locations as the preferred sites of auscultation of murmurs which emanate from them. This is because the murmurs are dependent on the proximity of the heart chambers to the thoracic cage and the direction of blood flow.