What is Heart Valve Disease?
Your heart has four different valves that open to let blood pass and then close to keep blood from flowing in the wrong direction. Heart valve disease means something is wrong with one of these valves.
Some people are born with the condition, while others develop it later in life. Heart valves can malfunction in two ways:
- The valve opening may be too small, so not enough blood can pass through. This is called “stenosis.”
- The valve may not close completely, allowing blood to leak back through, a condition called “regurgitation.”
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Some patients have no symptoms of heart valve disease, even in severe cases. Others may have symptoms even if their condition is not as serious. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Weakness during regular activities
- Dizziness or fainting
- Discomfort in the chest
- Palpitations or feeling that your heart has missed a beat
- Swelling in ankles, feet or stomach
- Sudden and unexplained weight gain
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UR Medicine's Treatments for Heart Valve Disease
The UR Medicine Advanced Heart Valve Center is solely focused on treating heart valve problems.
If heart valve disease is suspected, your doctor will listen for a heart murmur, which would suggest that a valve is not working correctly.
We use state-of-the-art testing technology to form the most accurate picture of your heart health possible. We’ll discuss all test results, treatment strategies, and decisions with your referring or primary care physician to make sure you get the treatment that’s right for you.
Our diagnostic methods include:
- Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography with 3D imaging
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
- Multi-detector computed tomography with 3D reconstruction
- Cardiac catheterization
For mild heart valve disease, you may only need to be monitored by your doctor periodically. Moderate heart valve disease can often be treated successfully with medication. Severe heart valve disease frequently requires surgery.
- Heart valve repair involves using a patient's own tissue to fix the defective valve. UR Medicine Cardiac Care provides the most advanced procedures for heart valve repair, usually done through small incisions.
- Heart valve replacement means putting in a new mechanism to replace a severely damaged valve. UR Medicine Cardiac Care offers the very latest options for heart valve replacement, including valves made from natural and artificial materials. These procedures are usually done through small incisions.
What Sets Us Apart?
We are the first program in the region to be recognized by the American College of Cardiology with its Transcatheter Valve Certification—the first outside the New York City area to earn this designation. This was achieved through a rigorous evaluation of our program's ability to demonstrate:
- Better care
- Better prognoses
- Better quality of life
- Faster treatment
- Better communication with patients and families
The UR Medicine Advanced Heart Valve Center was also the first in the region to perform some of the latest breakthrough procedures such as TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement).
We’re also one of the few programs in the country to have earned the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award, with the American Heart Association. The designation recognizes hospitals and surgeons who have mastered complex mitral valve reconstruction and have consistently delivered high quality outcomes.
The Cardiac Care Valve Center offers the full range of treatments for heart valve disease, and our team of surgeons has extensive experience with minimally invasive procedures, which can be effective for many valve repair surgery patients—even the most challenging repairs.
2020 Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award
Transcatheter Valve Certified by the American College of Cardiology
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Related Services & Conditions
- Aortic Stenosis
- Bicuspid Aortic Valve
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
- Heart Valve Repair
- Heart Valve Replacement
- Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
- Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery
- Mitral Valve Stenosis
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
- Vascular and Interventional Radiology