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What Everyone Should Know About Heart Valves

| Date Posted: 4/2/2019


What is Heart Valve Disease?

Valves are tissue flaps in the heart that open and close with each heartbeat regulating the direction and flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.  Damaged valves can be caused by birth-defects, age-related changes, infections and more.  When the valves malfunction they can cause:

  • Regurgitation - the valve doesn't close properly causing blood to backflow
  • Stenosis - when the valves thicken or fuse together and don't open properly
  • Atresia - when the valve has no opening for blood to pass through



Many people with malformed heart valves go a lifetime with no problems, but if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below your symptoms might be the result of a damaged heart valve:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling around the ankles, feet, or abdomen



There are a number of possible treatments including:

  • Lifestyle changes can ease a minor heart valve problem.
  • Some medications can alleviate symptoms and allow for a delay in surgery
  • Surgery is required for more serious valve problems.
  • FirstHealth Valve Clinic is also currently screening patients for the TAVR* procedure


Learn about heart services provided at FirstHealth's Reid Heart Center by clicking here


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