Your heart has four different valves - two on the right and two on the left. These valves open to let blood pass and then close to keep blood from flowing in the wrong direction. When something is wrong with one of these valves, you are said to have heart valve disease. Some people with heart valve disease are born with it, while others develop heart valve disease later in life. Heart valves can malfunction in two ways:
Many patients do not notice any symptoms of heart valve disease. It is possible to have severe heart valve disease without any symptoms. Alternatively, some patients may have symptoms even though the condition of their disease is not serious.
Following are symptoms that some patients with heart valve disease may experience:
If heart valve disease is suspected, your doctor will first listen to your heart. A heart "murmur" suggests that a valve in your heart is not working correctly.
If this is the case, your doctor will recommend imaging tests to see if you have heart valve disease. The most commonly performed test to assess valve function is the cardiac ultrasound. These tests may be repeated over time to see how the disease is progressing.
Treatments for heart valve disease differ depending on the severity of the disease. Mild heart valve disease may only need to be monitored by your doctor periodically. Moderate heart valve disease can often be treated successfully with medication. But severe heart valve disease frequently requires surgery.
The UR Medicine Heart & Vascular Valve Center offers the full range of treatments that are available for heart valve disease, including medication and surgical techniques.
If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with heart valve disease, call UR Medicine Heart & Vascular at (585) 275-2475.