Heart Valve Disease

If not treated, advanced heart valve disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots or sudden death due to sudden cardiac arrest. So we’ll do our utmost to care for it.

Heart Valve Disease

Your heart has four valves. When one or more of the heart valves aren’t working properly, this is known as heart valve disease.

You rely on your heart valves to pump blood in the correct direction. However, one or more of the heart valves doesn’t open or close properly. This can cause a disruption in blood flow between your heart and the rest of your body.

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Some people may not show symptoms of heart valve disease for years. For years this condition can go undetected. Many people with mild valve disease do not exhibit symptoms, so the illness can easily be undiagnosed and untreated. The severity of symptoms does not necessarily correlate to the severity of the valve disease. You could have no symptoms at all yet have severe valve disease.

When signs and symptoms do arise, they may be the following:

  • Whooshing sound (heart murmur)
  • Chest pain
  • abdominal swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the ankles and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat

Causes of Heart Valve Disease

For some people, they can be born with heart valve disease. This is called congenital heart valve disease. The condition can be alone or grouped with other congenital heart defects. Heart valve disease can develop over time too. As people get older or have additional heart conditions, this disease has a higher chance of developing.

The Types of Heart Valve Disease

Heart valve disease can be classified in three different ways.

  • Regurgitation
  • Stenosis
  • Atresia

Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease

Your doctor will ask to conduct a physical exam and listen for a heart murmur as possible sign of a heart valve condition. Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Exercise tests or stress tests
  • Cardiac catheterization

Treatments for Heart Valve Disease

How your doctor treats you for heart valve disease depends on your symptoms, severity of the condition and whether your condition is worsening. Your doctor may recommend you start with the following treatments:

  • Patch holes in a valve
  • Separate valve leaflets that have fused
  • Replace the cords that support the valve
  • Remove excess valve tissue so that the valve can close tightly

Surgeons will often tighten or reinforce the ring around a valve by implanting an artificial ring. Doctors may also repair certain heart valves by using catheters.

Heart Valve Replacement

If the surgeon believes the heart valve can’t be repaired, they may remove the damaged valve and replace it with a mechanical valve. Other options include valves from cows, pig or human heart tissue. A minimally invasive procedure, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be used to replace a damaged aortic valve.

If you develop heart valve disease, INTEGRIS Health physicians, cardiologists and specialists will do their utmost to care for you. Our cutting-edge technologies and procedures brought to you by INTEGRIS Health Heart Hospital mean you often get maximally successful results with the latest in minimally invasive robotic or laparoscopic surgeries and procedures.

Learn how a $50 Heart Scan could save your life.

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