Heart Valve Disease

If not treated, advanced heart valve disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots or sudden death due to sudden cardiac arrest. So we’ll do our utmost to care for it.

Let us help you feel better.

The Basics

Your heart has four valves. Normally, these valves open to let blood flow through or out of your heart, then shut to keep it from flowing backward. When they don't work properly, we call it heart valve disease, and it can make your heart work harder and affect its ability to pump blood.

You can be born with heart valve disease or develop it later in life. You can also do things to reduce your risk for developing heart valve disease.

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet low in salt and fat
  • Exercise regularly and lose weight if you are overweight
  • If you have diabetes, maintain careful control of your blood sugar
  • Consume no more than two alcoholic beverages a day

If not treated, advanced heart valve disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots, or sudden death due to sudden cardiac arrest.

The Good News

If you develop heart valve disease, INTEGRIS physicians, cardiologists and specialists will do their utmost to care for you. Our cutting edge technologies and procedures brought to you by INTEGRIS Heart Hospital mean you often get maximally successful results with the latest in minimally invasive robotic or laparoscopic surgeries and procedures.

Learn how a $50 HeartScan could save your life.

If you are over the age of 40, check the risk factors. Schedule a HeartScan today.

Understanding Heart Valve Disease

Many people with mild valve disease do not exhibit symptoms, so the illness can easily be undiagnosed and untreated. The severity of symptoms does not necessarily correlate to the severity of the valve disease. You could have no symptoms at all, yet have severe valve disease. It is important to realize once this disease becomes severe and symptoms develop, it is life-threatening. Watch for:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid weight gain

At INTEGRIS, we use the most advanced imaging methods and diagnostic tools to determine the cause, severity and prognosis of your heart condition. Some of these diagnostic tests may include:

  • Echocardiogram (Echo): This procedure evaluates the structure and function of your heart by using sound waves recorded on an electronic sensor that makes a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): An electrocardiogram measures your heart's electrical activity. By placing electrodes at specific locations on your body (chest, arms and legs), a graphic representation, or tracing, can be made as an ECG machine receives and interprets the electrical activity. An ECG can show the presence of arrhythmias, damage to your heart caused by ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart muscle), or myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack), a problem with one or more of the heart valves or other types of heart conditions.
  • Cardiac Catheterization: During this procedure, a wire is passed into the coronary arteries of the heart. X-rays are taken after a contrast agent is injected into an artery, which help locate the narrowing, blockages and other problems.
  • Cardiac MRI Scan: A combination of large magnets, radiofrequency energy and a computer makes detailed images of organs and structures in the body. During this test, you lie inside a big tube while magnets pass around your body.
  • Chest X-Ray: This diagnostic test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film.

Your multidisciplinary team will craft a specific treatment plan for your heart valve disease based on your age, overall health, medical history, the extent of the disease and your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies. Of course, your personal opinions and preferences will also be taken into consideration. Treatments may include:

Monitoring

  • Your physician may adopt a watch and wait policy for mild or asymptomatic cases.

Medication Treatment

  • Medications may be prescribed such as antithrombotic medications or anticoagulants (especially following valve replacement surgery).

Surgical Treatment

  • Heart Valve Replacement: Involves open-heart surgery and support from a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon enters through your sternum and replaces the diseased valve with either a mechanical valve or an artificial (prosthetic) valve.
  • Heart Valve Repair: Allows your own valve to remain in place while the surgeon makes repairs through a standard incision or through a minimally invasive approach.
  • Minimally Invasive Valve Replacement: A surgeon performs heart surgery often going between your ribs or through a small incision in the sternum rather than dividing the breast bone completely as in traditional valve surgery. The surgeon uses magnified high definition 3D video monitoring to facilitate the surgery.
  • Aortic Valve Surgery: Involves replacing or repairing your damaged aortic valve through traditional surgery or by using minimally invasive techniques. If your aortic valve is replaced, surgeons implant either a new mechanical or tissue valve.
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty: Performed to repair the valves of patients with narrowed mitral, aortic or pulmonary valves. This minimally invasive technique involves inserting a thin, tiny hollow tube (catheter) with a balloon on its tip through a blood vessel in your arm or groin to your heart and into the narrowed valve. When in place, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times to stretch the valve opening and improve blood flow.
  • Mitral Valve Surgery: Minimally invasive robotic surgery used to treat defective mitral valves and those damaged by infection or aging by reconstructing the valve from your own tissue or replacing it with an artificial valve.
  • Robotic Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery: Used to treat defective mitral valves and those damaged by infection or aging by reconstructing the valve from your own tissue or replacing it with an artificial valve.
  • Tricuspid Valve Surgery: Minimally invasive robotic surgery used to repair or replace your valve. Your heart is frequently allowed to beat on its own with this type of operation rather than placing you on a heart-lung machine.
  • Surgery for Endocarditis: A surgeon removes all infected tissue in the lining of your heart valve. Because endocarditis enters the blood stream it can cause growths or holes on your valve or create scarring, often resulting in a leaky heart valve. The surgeon will either repair your heart tissue and valve or replace them.

Part of heart and vascular care includes managing heart disease and preventing further deterioration to help you live the fullest life possible. To accomplish that, we’ll provide you with education, continued care options and programs even after you are discharged including:

  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Heart Education
  • Anticoagulation Management Clinic
  • Heart Care Program
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Palliative Care

Available Near You