Valvular Heart Disease

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

The heart is divided into four main chambers – two upper chambers (called the left and right atrium) and two lower chambers (called the left and right ventricle). There are four valves that control the flow of blood through your heart. They are called the aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid valves, and each is made of flaps of tissue called leaflets.

Each time your heart beats blood is pumped through these valves. These valves open in a specific sequence allowing blood to flow forward. The valves open in one direction, like one-way gates, preventing blood from flowing backward. There are two common problems that can develop in heart valves:

  • When your valve is narrowed and does not completely open because of things like a build-up of calcium (mineral deposits), high cholesterol (a waxy fat), age, or genetics (such as a birth defect), this is called stenosis.
  • When your valve does not fully close and allows blood to leak backwards through the valve, this is called regurgitation.

With either problem, your heart needs to work harder and may not pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your body.

Guidelines on management of valvular heart disease reinforce that optimal treatment should begin well before signs and symptoms become severe and, in some cases, when patients have no symptoms. Some symptoms that may indicate heart valve disease include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially when you exert yourself or when you're lying down
  • Unusual fatigue
  • History of rheumatic fever
  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, or neck
  • Symptoms can range from none at all to severe and do not always indicate the seriousness of heart valve disease

Medical technology and techniques are constantly evolving, particularly in terms of diagnosis and treatment for cardiovascular heart and valve disorders. Our team of physicians and surgeons perform the latest in leading-edge diagnosis and treatment options:

  • Conventional open heart valve surgery
  • Minimally invasive open heart valve surgery
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
  • Mitral Clip

Why Choose Us?

Baptist Health is known for advanced, superior care for patients with valvular heart disease including the diagnosis, treatment, and management. You will appreciate timely appointments and a professional, friendly atmosphere where we take time to listen to your concerns.

At Baptist Health, you have access to the region’s most comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of doctors and innovative therapies, including many available only through specialized clinical trials. In every way, we work to demonstrate the utmost in excellent care to those who trust us with their health.

We understand that each patient's situation is different. We take the time to get to know each of our patients so that we can provide the most personalized care possible. We believe in a team approach to care, and our patients are always our top priority.