The valves inside your heart ensure that blood flows in the right direction, so when you have valvular heart disease, you’re at risk for problems like blood clots, an irregular heart rhythm, stroke, and heart failure. At Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists, the providers, have extensive experience repairing and replacing heart valves that have stopped working properly. To get exceptional care, call the office in Mountain View, California, or book an appointment online.
Your heart has four valves that help keep blood flowing through your heart. The valves open to let blood go through in the correct direction, then close to stop it from flowing backward. When problems develop with one or more valves, you have valvular heart disease.
Some heart valve diseases are congenital conditions. However, most heart valve diseases are caused by age-related changes, infections, and underlying health conditions.
There are several types of heart valve problems:
When a valve doesn’t close tightly enough, it may let blood flow backward or allow blood to leak through the valve when it shouldn’t.
In this valve disease, the valves can’t open normally because they’re too thick, stiff, or fused together. As a result, the heart works harder to push blood through the valve.
Any of the four valves can develop stenosis, but the most common and most serious is aortic valve stenosis.
The mitral valve flaps don’t close smoothly; instead, they bulge upward. This condition can let a small amount of blood flow backward.
The first sign of valvular disease is a heart murmur, which is found when your doctor listens to your heart through a stethoscope. When you have a valve problem, you may not notice any symptoms, or you could suddenly develop symptoms when the disease is severe.
If symptoms appear, you’ll experience one or more of the three key symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, and lightheadedness. You may also feel fatigued or notice an irregular or racing heartbeat.
After you’re diagnosed with a heart valve problem, a physican develops individualized treatment to protect your heart from further damage. He may prescribe medications to help manage your symptoms. He also determines if the valve needs surgical repair or replacement.
Whenever possible, a physician repairs the damaged valve using advanced minimally invasive procedures. However, open-heart surgery is sometimes the best option. He chooses the procedure that’s most appropriate for your specific valve problem and your overall health.
If you have questions about valvular heart disease, or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists or use the online booking option.