Heart Valve Diseases

If you or a loved one suffers from heart valve disease, see the descriptions below about the kinds of disease treated by The Valve Center.

Aortic Stenosis – When the opening of the aortic valve narrows, the result is lower blood flow. As aortic stenosis worsens, the condition can become life-threatening. This disease may begin due to an infection, rheumatic fever, or a hereditary issue. If you live with aortic stenosis, you may experience symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or difficulty during exercise.

Valve Open    Valve Closed
Fig. 1 The leaflets of a healthy aortic heart valve open wide to allow oxygenated blood to flow unobstructed through the valve into the aorta where it flows out to the rest of the body.   Fig. 2 The leaflets of a stenotic or calcified aortic heart valve are unable to open wide, obstructing blood flow from the left ventricle into the aorta. The narrowed valve allows less oxygenated blood to flow through and as a result, less oxygen-rich blood is pumped out to the body which may cause symptoms like severe shortness of breath.

Mitral Valve Prolapse – The mitral valve works to prevent backflow of blood. Prolapse occurs when the valve fails to close properly. Patients with mitral valve prolapse may feel no symptoms, or symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, or shortness of breath may develop slowly.

Rheumatic Heart Disease – Permanent damage to heart valves can be caused by rheumatic fever. The damage may originally be caused by an episode of strep throat that leads to rheumatic fever. For some patients, the disease may progress to congestive heart failure.

Mitral Regurgitation – When the mitral valve doesn’t close correctly, blood leaks back into the left atrium of the heart. Mitral regurgitation is the most common form of heart valve disease, and patients with this condition may experience a heart murmur, shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen feet or ankles, lightheadedness, or other symptoms. Though mild cases may never pose a serious risk, severe cases will cause heart complications and require a surgical response.