Heart Valve Disease
DMC Medical Group provides diagnosis and treatment for complicated cardiac conditions including heart valve disease. Our goal is to work with you to develop the best plan of action to improve your quality of life and minimize your discomfort.
Understanding Heart Valve Disease
The heart consists of the two upper chambers known as the atria, two lower chambers known as the ventricles, and four heart valves:
- Tricuspid Valve – Between the right atrium and right ventricle
- Pulmonary Valve – Between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery
- Mitral Valve – Between the left atrium and pulmonary artery
- Aortic Valve – Between the left ventricle and the aorta
As the heart pumps blood, these valves open and shut to enable blood to flow in one direction. Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of these valves do not function the way that they should, usually manifesting as:
- Regurgitation is when one or more valves do not close all the way which causes blood to flow backwards. It is also called a leaky valve.
- Stenosis is when the opening of the valves becomes damaged or narrows which prohibits blood to flow as it should. The heart will try to compensate by pumping harder.
It is possible to experience both of these at the same time in more than one valve and can lead to heart failure when left untreated. Valve diseases can be congenital – meaning they are present at birth due to a birth defect – or it may develop as a result of disease or infection.
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
When symptoms of heart valve disease occur, they include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Discomfort
- Heart Palpitations
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Swelling in the Ankles, Feed, or Abdomen
Diagnosing & Treating Heart Valve Disease
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination in which they listen to your heart and lungs. Diagnostic tests including echocardiography may be necessary for an accurate diagnosis. While there is no cure for heart valve disease, there are several methods of treatment that can alleviate symptoms and delay progression. These include:
- Lifestyle Changes – Quitting smoking and adopting a heart-healthy diet.
- Medications – Prescriptions that lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent arrythmia, and thin blood to prevent clotting.
- Repair or Replacement – Surgery that enables the valves to function properly in order to avoid lasting damage.
Contact Our Office
Feel confident that you have top cardiologists and specialists available through DMC Medical Group. Call us to speak to a member of our caring staff to schedule an appointment.