Valve Clinic

What is Heart Valve Disease?

Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not function normally. Two common types of abnormalities include valve stenosis (narrowing) and valve insufficiency (leakage).

Symptoms of heart valve disease

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness, dizziness or passing out
  • Chest pain with activity
  • Heart palpitations, including rapid or irregular heart beats
  • Swelling of ankles, feet or abdomen
  • Rapid weight gain

Make an appointment

Call and make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. The physician that examines you will likely listen to your heart for any signs of abnormalities.

If abnormalities are suspected, the physician may then order an echocardiogram, the most frequently used diagnostic tool for valve problems that allows physicians to see moving pictures of the heart. Your physician may then follow-up with a chest x-ray, exercise tests or a diagnostic cardiac catheterization (also called an angiogram), if indicated. Problems with valves can sometimes be repaired during a cardiac catheterization.

How is valve disease treated?

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the abnormality. Mild and moderate problems can often be managed with medications and careful follow up, while severe disease may require correction with catheters or surgery.