What Is Heart Valve Disease?
Heart valve disease occurs when one of the four valves in your heart — tricuspid, aortic, mitral or pulmonary — don’t work as they should. Each valve has flaps that open and close to move blood in one direction through your heart. When the flaps aren’t working correctly, they can restrict blood from moving out of, or allow blood to leak back into, the heart. Heart valve disease can lead to many complications if left untreated, including heart failure, stroke, blood clots, arrhythmias and even death.
Should your heart valve disease require surgery, our heart surgeons have consistently earned a place in the top tier of cardiothoracic surgeons for quality patient outcomes, meaning you can trust in our experience and history of positive results. From simple to complex mitral valve repairs as well as mitral valve replacements, our team is able to perform these procedures using the minimally invasive approach with access between the ribs. This allows patients to return to full activity much sooner and without upper body limitations.
Heart valve disease symptoms
You may not experience symptoms of heart valve disease for years. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with heart valve disease include:
- Heart murmur (abnormal sound your doctor hears when listening to your heart with a stethoscope)
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Shortness of breath, especially after being active or laying down
Mitral valve disease symptoms
Heart valve disease treatment
While no medicines cure heart valve disease, they can treat many of its symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Medication may be the best choice if your condition is mild or you’re not a candidate for surgery.
Your doctor may recommend surgery to either repair the existing valves or replace them entirely. Repairing heart valves can involve patching holes with added tissue, reshaping the valves, fusing separated flaps or widening the valves using a balloon on the end of a thin tube, called a catheter (balloon valvuloplasty).
In cases when your valve can’t be repaired, your surgeon will replace it with a new biological or mechanical heart valve. Your doctor will discuss these options with you so together, you make the best decision for you. A biological valve may need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years. A mechanical valve may never need to be replaced, but can also require you to take blood thinning medication for the rest of your life, and it may be more prone to infection.
Heart valve repair or replacement surgery can sometimes be done through minimally invasive methods, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). Minimally invasive surgery requires a much smaller incision than traditional surgery and can result in a faster recovery, lower risk of infection and less pain. Most patients are discharged directly to home to complete their recovery.
Your Heart Care Team
When Do You Need a Heart Specialist?
Your First Cardiology Visit
Recovering from Heart Surgery
Accepted Insurance Plans
Conditions We Treat
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Arrhythmias and Atrial Fibrillation
Chest Pain (Angina)
Deep Vein Thrombosis
> Heart Valve Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Why Choose Us for Heart Care?
Heart Health: Prevention and Support