Overview of Heart Valve Disease

Heart valves control blood flow through your heart. When valves are damaged, they often don't open and close properly. This leads to backflow of blood or limits the forward flow of blood, and makes your heart work harder to move the same amount of blood. In time, this extra work can weaken your heart muscle and may lead to heart failure (described below). Heart valve disease can also cause heart rate and rhythm problems and other complications.

Causes: Heart valve disease has several possible causes. You may have been born with a valve defect. Your valves may have been damaged by coronary artery disease or by an illness such as rheumatic fever. Or, your heart valves may simply be wearing out as you grow older. Three common types of valve problems are:

Treatments for Heart Valve Disease

Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for heart valve disease include:

  • Heart Valve Repair/Replacement

    Heart valve repair/replacement includes open heart surgery and catheter-based procedures that are used to repair or replace diseased heart valves.

  • Aortic Valve Repair/Replacement, Surgical

    Many patients require open heart surgery to treat aortic stenosis. A cardiovascular surgeon removes the diseased valve and replaces it with either a mechanical or tissue valve.

  • Aortic Valve Repair/Replacement, Transcatheter

    Patients who are considered “inoperable” or very high risk for surgery may be eligible for a less invasive method of replacing the aortic valve called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

  • Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement

    Mitral valve repair or replacement involves heart surgery to repair the mitral valve for many patients, though less invasive options may also be considered.

  • Valvuloplasty

    Mitral valve repair or replacement involves heart surgery to repair the mitral valve for many patients, though less invasive options may also be considered.

Learn about Heart Valve Disease

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