Chordae tendineae

"Heart strings" redirects here. For other uses, see Heart Strings (disambiguation).
Chordae tendinae

The chordae tendineae are the tendons connecting the valves to the heart muscle

Papillary muscles and chordae tendineae
Latin chordae tendineae cordis
MeSH A07.541.510.240
TA A12.1.00.023
FMA 76527

Anatomical terminology

The chordae tendinae (tendinous chords), colloquially known as the heart strings, are cord-like tendons that connect the papillary muscles to the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve in the heart.

Chordae tendinae are approximately 80% collagen, while the remaining 20% is made up of elastin and endothelial cells.


Tendon of Todaro

The tendon of Todaro is a continuation of the Eustachian valve of the inferior vena cava and the Thebesian ring of the coronary sinus. Along with the opening of the coronary sinus and the septal cusp of the tricuspid valve, it makes up the triangle of Koch. The apex of the triangle of Koch is the location of the atrioventricular node.


A medical illustration showing a cross section of the heart and lungs, chordae tendineae visible.

During atrial systole, blood flows from the atria to the ventricles down the pressure gradient. Chordae tendineae are relaxed because the atrioventricular valves are forced open.[1]

When the ventricles of the heart contract in ventricular systole, the increased blood pressures in both chambers push the AV valves to close simultaneously, preventing backflow of blood into the atria. Since the blood pressure in atria is much lower than that in the ventricles, the flaps attempt to evert to the low pressure regions. The chordae tendineae prevent the eversion, prolapse, by becoming tense thus pulling the flaps, holding them in closed position.[1]

Additional images

See also

This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see Anatomical terminology.


  1. 1 2 Karas, S.; Elkins, R. C. (1970). "Mechanism of Function of the Mitral Valve Leaflets, Chordae Tendineae and Left Ventricular Papillary Muscles in Dogs". Circulation Research. 26 (6): 689–96. doi:10.1161/01.RES.26.6.689. PMID 5422929.
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