What is Heart Valve Disease?
Heart valve disease occurs when there is dysfunction in one or more of the four heart valves—mitral, aortic, tricuspid, or pulmonary. Dysfunction of the heart valves may be the result of narrowed (valvular stenosis) or leaking (valvular regurgitation) valves. Heart valves disease may lead to shortness of breath, dizziness, heart enlargement (cardiomyopathy), or chest pain.
Heart valve disease is often categorized in three ways: regurgitation, stenosis, and atresia.
- Regurgitation: When a valve doesn’t close tightly enough blood flows back into the chambers instead of towards the heart.
- Stenosis: If the flaps of a valve thicken, stiffen, or fuse, blood is not able to fully pass through the valves.
- Atresia: When the heart valve is not equipped with an opening for blood to pass through.
Some patients are born with heart valve disease, or it can develop over time. Heart valve disease is one of the cardiovascular disease concerns that the Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute diagnoses and treats.
Visit Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute
Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute is home to highly trained cardiologists who focus on advanced diagnostic testing and screenings for a range of heart and vascular concerns. Our team can work with you to assess your risk for heart valve disease and recommend the appropriate solution to help improve your heart health and function. To learn more about our services, contact our vascular specialists at one of our convenient locations.
About Heart Valve Disease
Common Symptoms of Heart valve Disease
Symptoms of heart valve disease may vary from patient to patient. Some patients don’t experience any symptoms, while others may have all of the following telltale signs.
- Shortness of Breath
- Fluid retention
- Heart murmur
- Irregular heartbeat
If left untreated, heart valve disease may lead to an increased risk of heart attack, blood clots, or stroke. It is better to get evaluated as soon as possible to avoid more serious and costly issues down the road.
Common Causes of Heart Valve Disease
Although there is no stand-alone cause of heart disease, there are several factors that might contribute to the development of heart valve disease. The following are the most common signs you should look out for.
- Heart Failure
- Advanced High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
- Rheumatic Fever
- Infection: Infective Endocarditis
Heart Valve Disease FAQs
How is heart valve disease diagnosed?
Every diagnosis begins with a complete evaluation of a patients’ heart. A cardiovascular doctor will check for symptoms like a heart murmur, enlarged heart, and fluid retention. A doctor may perform one or more series of tests to identify heart valve disease.
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Stress Test
- Chest X-Ray
A vascular doctor can also monitor the progression of valve disease with the series of tests listed above, and determine if treatment is needed.
Can heart valve disease be treated?
In some cases, patients may not need immediate treatment. Some doctors may schedule regular visits to check the condition of your heart and valves. In other cases, patients may need medication, heart valve repair surgery, or heart valve replacement surgery.
Which heart valve disease treatment is right for me?
The type of treatment you receive will depend on the overall condition of your heart, type of heart valve disease, the severity of the damage, and age. Your doctor will evaluate your issues and give you a personalized diagnosis. We can use this same-day evaluation to determine which treatment is right for you.
What is the most commonly damaged heart valve?
The aortic valve is the most often damaged heart valve, however any valve can develop a problem. Valves that develop heart disease may not completely close, making them leak.
Can damaged heart valves heal?
Heart valves unfortunately do not usually repair themselves. It is true that some newborns born with heart murmurs will eventually grow out of the murmur, however once damaged, your heart valves cannot fully repair themselves.
Can you live with valve disease?
Many people lead long lives without ever becoming aware of having a moderate heart valve issue. However, untreated severe valve disease can result in abrupt cardiac arrest, heart failure, stroke, blood clots, and death.