Heart Valve Disease

Heart Valve Disease is a condition that affects the heart’s valves. There are four valves in the heart that control the flow of blood in and out of the heart. These valves open and close to regulate blood flow and prevent it from flowing backward. When the valves do not function properly, blood flow can be disrupted, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Heart valve disease affects approximately 2.5% of the population in developed countries worldwide, with prevalence increasing to 8% among people aged 65-74 and over 12% among those aged 75 and above.

Common types of heart valve disease include:

Stenosis: This occurs when the valve opening narrows and restricts blood flow forward.

Regurgitation: This occurs when the valve does not close properly, allowing blood to flow back into the heart.

Prolapse: This occurs when the valve flaps bulge into the atrium, which can cause blood to leak back into the atrium

In general, Heart Valve Disease can lead to problems such as heart failure, stroke, blood clots, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Over time, the heart may become weakened and less able to pump blood efficiently, leading to fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.

If the valve becomes severely damaged or does not function properly, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the valve. Without treatment, the condition may progress and become more difficult to manage, which can increase the risk of complications and mortality.

If heart valve disease is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications and potentially life-threatening situations.

Common symptoms of heart valve disease include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or exertion.​
  • Fatigue or weakness.​
  • Chest pain or discomfort.​
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet.​
  • Dizziness or fainting.​
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).​

The causes of Heart Valve Disease vary depending on the specific type of valve disorder. 

Common causes include:

Age: As people get older, their risk of developing heart valve disease increases.

Congenital heart defects: Some people are born with heart valve abnormalities that can lead to heart valve disease.

Rheumatic fever: This is a complication of untreated streptococcus throat infection that can damage the heart valves.

Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can cause damage to the heart valves.

Degenerative changes: Over time, the heart valves may become damaged or wornear out, leading to heart valve disease.

Other medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and connective tissue disorders, can increase the risk of heart valve disease.

The treatment of heart valve disease depends on the severity of the condition and the valve affected. While mild cases may not need treatment, more severe cases may require medication, or other interventions, including open-heart surgery to repair or replace the affected valve. 

For those at higher risk for surgery, minimally invasive valve procedures such as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI/TAVR), TricValve, Percutaneous Mitral Valvuloplasty (ballooning of the mitral valve), or MitraClip may be options.

The specific treatment plan for heart valve disease will depend on the severity of the condition, individual factors, and overall health. If you experience symptoms or suspect you may have heart valve disease, please contact us for a consultation.

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