Heart Valve Disease – Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Types of Heart Valve Disease

There are many types of heart valve disease, and to get the proper diagnosis and treatment, one must be thoroughly examined by a doctor.

Heart valve disease is defined as the dysfunction of any of the heart’s valves. The heart valve is part of the four chambers of your heart. It is responsible for maintaining the one-way flow of blood through your heart.

Heart valve disease occurs when the valves of the heart do not function the way that they should and cause the blood to flow backward. A heart valve disorder can affect any of the four valves in your heart.

How does the heart work?

The heart has valves, which flap open and close every time your heartbeats. This allows the blood to flow through the heart’s upper and lower chambers, and then to the rest of the body.

The heart has four valves:

  • Aortic valve. This valve is located between the left ventricle and the left aorta.
  • Mitral valve. Situated between the left atrium and the left ventricle.
  • Pulmonary valve. One of the valves is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
  • Tricuspid valve. Situated between the right atrium and the right ventricle.

If the heart valve is functioning properly, the blood flows forward freely, with no backward leakage. On the other hand, when the heart valve does not function properly, this causes the backflow of blood, also known as heart valve disease.

Heart valve disease can be congenital (present from birth) or some may acquire the condition later on. At times, the cause of heart valve disease is unknown.

Some of the potential causes for heart valve disease, aside from congenital factors, could be damage to the heart from a heart attack, metabolic disorders from high blood cholesterol, or a tumor in the heart. There are also certain medications that may contribute to the development of the different types of heart valve disease, but these are not conclusive.

What are the types of heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease does not always cause symptoms, but when they do, they may manifest in the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling of the abdomen, ankles, or feet

There are different types of heart valve disease and they affect the functions of the heart in different ways:

Congenital heart valve disease

This is a form of valve disease that most often affects the aortic or pulmonic valve. Here, the valves may not have formed properly. They could be the wrong size, have leaflets that are not correctly attached or are malformed.

Acquired valve disease

This is defined as previously healthy, normal valves that are no longer able to function well. This is one of the types of heart valve disease that may be caused by changes in the structure of the heart valve due to infections from rheumatic fever or endocarditis.

Valvular stenosis or valvular insufficiency

Valvular stenosis is one of the types of heart valve disease where there develops a narrowing of the heart valve. In this case, the heart valve does not fully open. The cause of this is stiff or fused leaflets.

When this happens, the heart has to work very hard to get the blood to flow through the leaflets. This can develop in any of the valves and are aptly named tricuspid stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, mitral stenosis, or aortic stenosis.

Valvular insufficiency

This is also known as a “leaky valve”. This occurs when the valve is not able to close tightly. When the valve does not close, some of the blood flows back, causing less blood to flow to the rest of the body.

Same with stenosis, any of the valves can become affected and these conditions are called tricuspid regurgitation, pulmonary regurgitation, mitral regurgitation, or aortic regurgitation.

What is Tricuspid Valve Disease?

What is tricuspid valve disease? Tricuspid valve disease happens due to an impairment of the function of the heart’s valves. In particular, the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn’t function properly. Tricuspid valve disease often occurs in conjunction with other heart valve problems. In severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of

Key Takeaways

Many people — regardless of the type of heart valve disease they may have — are able to lead full lives. Having this does not mean that you are limited in terms of movement or life choices. With the help of your doctor and medical team, you can learn to better manage your heart condition and live a full, normal life.

Angioplasty: What is it and How is it Done?

Angioplasty also called coronary angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention is a surgical procedure for unclogging partially blocked heart arteries. Arteries of the heart may get blocked by a sticky layer known as plaque. Removing the plaque through angioplasty surgery ensures the restoration of blood circulation through the arteries.
Lack of smooth blood circulation in the arteries of the heart causes breathlessness, pain in the chest, and various other symptoms. It makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to all other parts of the body and also can cause a heart attack.

What is Angioplasty For?

Below are the primary reasons why doctors may advise an angioplasty:

  • To treat narrowing of heart arteries and control the risk of a heart attack and subsequent damage to heart muscles
  • Lifestyle changes and/or medical interventions, as prescribed by a doctor, have not improved the heart condition
  • Remove plaque built-up in the heart, a condition called atherosclerosis
  • Control chest pain (angina, in medical terms) and loss of breath due to reduced blood flow to the heart

Risks of this Procedure

Angioplasty is not as invasive as other serious heart surgeries like coronary bypass surgery. However, like with any other surgical procedure, it has risks. Some of the most common risks are:

Recurrence of arterial blockages

Angioplasty, on being combined with drug-eluting stent placement does not prevent the same artery becoming clogged again. However, the risk of reappearance of blockage ranges between 10% and 20% when bare-metal stents have been used.

Stroke

The risk of stroke may increase when plaques break loose while the catheter is threaded through the aorta. Blood clots can develop in the catheter and may reach the brain on breaking loose.

Blood thinners are used to control the risk of stroke, although it is a rare risk of coronary angioplasty.

Bleeding

Bleeding may occur in the arm or leg where the catheter was inserted. Bruising is a common side effect and bleeding occurs only in severe cases. However, a blood transfusion may become necessary in case of severe bleeding.

Blood clots

Blood clots may appear within stents even after a coronary angioplasty surgery, making the arteries close down and causing a heart attack.

Doctors usually prescribe aspirin, along with other medications like clopidogrel (Plavix) or other similar drugs. This is to control the risk of blood clots developing in the stent. Don’t stop or change the dosage of these medications without consulting your doctor.

Abnormal heart rate

Abnormal rhythms of the heart are common during coronary angioplasty surgery. It gradually gets restored to normal within a short span of time. However, in severe cases, medications or a temporary pacemaker may become necessary.

Heart attack

In very rare cases, a heart attack may occur during a coronary angioplasty surgery in case artery tears or ruptures. Under such emergencies, bypass surgery may become necessary.

Kidney conditions

Stent placement and usage of dye during angioplasty surgery may raise the risk of damage to the kidney, especially amongst those with kidney problems.

In case you already have been diagnosed with a medical condition of the kidneys, your surgeon will perhaps restrict the use of contrast dye. He/she will ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated during the coronary angioplasty surgery.

How to Prepare for Angioplasty

Keep in mind the following to prepare for angioplasty:

  • Your doctor will evaluate your personal and family medical history, and also conduct a physical examination.
  • You will probably be recommended certain medical examinations like an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, and blood tests before you undertake the surgery.
  • You may also be advised to take an imaging test known as coronary angiogram to observe and analyze the extent of blockage in your arteries. This will enable the doctor to determine whether the plaques need to be removed immediately, or can be removed with angioplasty, or need a more serious surgery like a bypass. In case, during the angiogram, the doctor decides that the blockages need to be removed, he/she may perform angioplasty and stenting immediately after the angiogram while the heart is catheterized.
  • Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications before angioplasty. These include aspirin, a blood thinner, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Remember to tell your doctor about all the medications you may be taking – prescription drugs, OTC drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbals.
  • Refrain from drinking six to eight hours before an angiography. Also, ensure that you take medications as advised by your doctor before the surgery.

What Happens During Angioplasty?

The following is the surgical procedure for angioplasty:

  • The patient will be medicated to relax him/her before angioplasty. The area where the catheter will be inserted is numbed with anesthesia.
  • A narrow plastic tube, known as a sheath, is inserted into an artery through the arm or groin, as per the discretion of the cardiac surgeon. Next, a long and thin tube is then connected to the arteries around the heart through the sheath and up a blood vessel.
  • A small quantity of contrast liquid is released into the blood vessel through the catheter. An X-ray photographs the entire process as the contrast liquid travels through the chambers of the heart, valves, and major blood vessels. This enables the surgeon to get accurate information about the number and extent of heart blockages, and whether the valves of the heart are working effectively.
  • In case the surgeon decides to perform angioplasty, he/she will direct the catheter into the artery where there is a blockage. Next, he/she will undertake the angioplasty surgery through any of the following procedures, as he/she thinks necessary:
  • Balloon – A catheter, with a tiny balloon at one end, is passed through a blocked artery in which angioplasty will be performed. The balloon is then inflated to displace the plaque and push the artery open to improve blood circulation to the heart.
  • Stent – A small tube is inserted as support to the inner surface of the coronary artery. A balloon catheter, fixed over a guidewire, helps the stent into your blocked coronary artery. After it has been accurately inserted, the balloon is inflated to make the stent expand to the size of the artery and hold it open. The balloon is removed after it is deflated while the stent stays in the artery permanently. The artery gradually heals around the stent in the next few weeks. Stents are usually made of metal or of a material that gets absorbed by the body over time.

What is the Recovery period for Angioplasty?

Angioplasty is not a complicated surgery, and therefore, the recovery period is also brief. An individual, who has undergone angioplasty or stenting, is usually discharged from the hospital within 12 to 24 hours after the removal of the catheter. They can resume their normal life within a few days to a couple of weeks.

After an angioplasty surgery, you need to lead a regulated lifestyle to prevent the recurrence of blockages and reduce the risk of a more invasive coronary bypass surgery. Here are the essential post-surgical tips:
  • Take prescription drugs on time and at the advised dosage
  • Quit smoking and drinking
  • Follow a regular fitness routine
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat
  • Keep a close watch over health conditions like cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure

Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR): What is it and How is it Done?

An aortic valve replacement (AVR) is a type of open-heart surgery that treats the problem related to the heart’s aortic valve. The aortic valve is responsible to regulate the flow of blood pumped by the heart to the entire body. Cardiologists explain the aortic valve contains three tissue flaps called cusps; hence it is a tricuspid valve.
A person is required to undergo an aortic valve replacement if his or her aortic valve is not working properly. Experts explain aortic valve regurgitation and aortic valve stenosis are two different types of problems that might require a valve replacement.
  • In aortic regurgitation, the valve is leaky. Some blood flows back to the heart instead of flowing to other parts of the body.
  • In aortic stenosis, the valve is unable to open fully. This results in less blood flowing to other parts of the body.

In both cases, a person is required to undergo aortic valve replacement surgery.

A person with poor aortic valve function may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Passing out
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties

If a person experiences these symptoms or they get worse, he or she may need to undergo the surgery.

A health expert can suggest undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery only after conducting an echocardiogram or heart ultrasound.

Aging is one of the common factors that result in aortic regurgitation and aortic stenosis. The other factors include:

  • Certain genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome
  • Birth defects
  • Heart valve bacterial infection

Risks of aortic valve replacement

Aortic valve replacement is a major surgery. There are certain risks involved like:

  • Infection
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Valve dysfunction in replacement valves
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Death, although rare

Understand the risks and precautions of this surgery from the doctor or surgeon before undergoing aortic valve replacement.

What are the Types of Heart Infections?

The heart is an incredibly important organ in our body–and if it were to stop one way or another, we would stop breathing and living. This is why it’s essential to know probable heart problems we might suffer from, like heart infection types as well as its causes, so we can avoid them. There are several

How to Prepare for AVR

Before undergoing the surgery, you should get all the details about aortic valve replacement from the doctor.

The patient is required to sign a permission form that permits the surgeon to perform the surgery. Read the form carefully and fill all necessary details. In case of doubt ask a doctor or any healthcare professional.

A doctor may ask for a complete medical history, perform a few physical examinations and blood tests to ensure good health for the surgery.

The patient will be instructed to avoid consuming any food and fluids for 8 hours before the surgery. Generally, the patient is asked to stop eating or drinking after midnight.

If a woman is pregnant or thinks she is pregnant, should inform the health expert before the surgery.

A person should inform the doctor if he or she is allergic to anesthetic agents, medicines, tape, latex, and iodine. Also, a doctor should know the patient’s medicine, drug, supplement, or herbal intake to prevent any possible interactions or side effects.

A patient having a history of a bleeding disorder or using any anticoagulant medicines (blood-thinning drugs), aspirin, or any medicine should inform the surgeon as these drugs may affect blood clotting. The surgeon may instruct to stop certain medicines until surgery or post-surgery recovery.

A few doctors may perform a blood test before surgery to examine the person’s blood clotting procedure and healing.

A patient who smokes should avoid smoking as soon as possible. Health experts believe avoiding cigarette smoking improves the chances for a successful post-surgery. Overall, stopping smoking cigarettes is beneficial for health and well-being.

What Happens During AVR?

General anesthesia is used to perform an aortic valve replacement surgery. General anesthesia makes the patient unconscious throughout the procedure and he/she does not feel pain while the surgeon performs aortic valve replacement.

During the procedure, a surgeon makes a large incision approximately 25 cm long in the middle of the breastbone. This helps the doctor to access the heart properly and perform the surgery.

Next, the tubes are inserted in the heart and major blood vessels which are attached to the heart-lung machine (a bypass machine). This machine acts like the heart throughout the procedure.

The surgeon will inject a drug into the heart which will stop the heart. This also helps the main artery, Aorta, to stop working. This allows the surgeon to operate properly while the heart-lung machine takes care of the patient’s body.

The surgeon will open the aorta and remove the damaged aortic valve and place a new valve with the help of stitches.

Once done, the surgeon uses electric shocks to start the heart to pump again. As the heart starts to pump, the tubes and wires attached to the heart and major blood vessels are removed which were connected to the bypass machine.

After that, the surgeon joins the breastbone and the wounds on the chest are closed with the help of dissolvable stitches. The surgical site is then covered by bandages.

Recovery Period

Majority of patients who underwent heart valve replacement or repair surgery are advised to be under observation for a week. The medical care professionals will examine and monitor the patient’s heart functioning, breathing, blood pressure, and offer pain relief medicines accordingly.

A patient should know that a full recovery will take several months, depending on the age, healing rate, health condition, and the type of surgery.

Ensure the incisions are clean and dry. In case of infection or any health issue, contact the surgeon immediately. Also, contact the surgeon if the patient experiences the following:

  • Increased drainage from the incision area
  • Swelling or tenderness at the incision area
  • Fever
  • Chills

Ensure, before getting discharged from the hospital, the patient understands the ways to care and manage incision.

Post-Surgical Care

After the discharge, ensure someone drives the patient safely to his or her home.

  • A patient may feel exhausted post-surgery. Therefore, the patient needs to rest and regain his or her strength. It may take a few weeks to regain strength.
  • Once at home, the patient needs to check his or her body temperature and weight daily. If the body temperature is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or there is a change in body weight, contact the health expert immediately.
  • Do not lift heavy weighted objects for a few weeks. Consult a doctor before trying to lift heavy objects or while performing normal activities.
  • Follow the diet, exercises, medicines, and wound care instructed by the health expert.
  • Avoid performing stressful workouts until the doctor suggests.

A surgeon will set an appointment for stitches or staple removal post-surgery. Till that time, ensure healthy wound and incision care and safety.

Heart Valve Replacement: What is it and How is it Done?

Heart valve replacement surgery is a procedure that treats infected or diseased heart valves. It is the condition where at least one out of four heart valves does not function properly. Heart valves are responsible for the blood to flow in the correct direction through the heart. The four valves responsible for healthy blood flow throughout the body are Aortic Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Mitral Valve, and Pulmonary Valve.
Valves are made of cusps or flaps which open and close with every heartbeat. However, the flaps that do not open and close properly disturb the blood flow from the heart to the body.

In heart valve replacement, the surgeons repair and replace the infected heart valves. There are a few types of valve replacement surgery that help replace and repair heart valves.

Types of Valve Replacement Surgery

There are 4 types of heart valve replacement surgeries:

  • Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Mitral Valve Replacement
  • Double Valve Replacement
  • Pulmonary Valve Replacement

Aortic Valve Replacement

The aortic valve serves as an outflow valve on the left side of the heart. It connects the left ventricle to the aorta. The left ventricle is the heart’s main pumping chamber which pumps blood into the aorta and then to the other parts of the body. The job of the aortic valve is to close after the ventricle pumps the blood so that there is no backflow of the blood into the left ventricle.

In cases where the aortic valve stops functioning correctly or due to a congenital defect or diseases causing stenosis or regurgitation, you may require an aortic valve replacement surgery.

Mitral Valve Replacement

The mitral valve is placed between the left atrium and left ventricle. The responsibility of the mitral valve is to serve as an inflow valve. Hence, this valve allows the blood from the left atrium to flow into the left ventricle.

When the flaps do not close properly, the blood can flow back into the lungs. This can be due to a degenerative disease, congenital defect, or infection.

Double Valve Replacement

A double valve replacement surgery is a surgical replacement of both aortic and mitral valves or the entire left side of the heart. This surgery is not as common as others and death risks are slightly higher than others.

A person undergoing double heart valve replacement surgery should discuss possible risks and health threats before the surgery.

Pulmonary Valve Replacement

The pulmonary valve separates the pulmonary artery that carries blood to lungs for oxygenation and the right ventricle. Narrowing of the pulmonary valve can be due to a congenital defect or infection.

Depending on age, fitness, health condition and severity of the heart valve issue, a person is suggested to undergo the surgery.

What is Heart Valve Replacement for?

The four valves are responsible for allowing blood to flow through via different chambers of the heart. Each flap of the four valves should close completely after blood flow. However, when the valves do not close completely, it pushes the blood backwards. This is called regurgitation and based on the seriousness of it, a heart valve replacement may be suggested.

Valvular heart disease signs include:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing issues
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fluid retention, especially in the lower limbs
  • Fatigue
  • Cyanosis
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What are the Risks of Heart Valve Replacement?

The following are the possible risks of heart valve replacement surgery:

  • Infection in the endocarditis (new valve) is more common post valve replacement
  • Blood clots that may cause heart attack or stroke and lung problems
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Breathing issues
  • Damage to the blood vessels or bleeding during or after treatment
  • Pneumonia
  • Side effects of anaesthesia
  • Valve failure
  • Infection at the incision area
  • Stroke
  • Death

How to Prepare for Heart Valve Replacement?

Here is the list of things that you should consider before undergoing heart valve replacement:

  • Ask possible questions and doubts regarding the surgery, discuss risks and other aspects with the doctor.
  • Understand the surgery and its benefits. Also, know lifestyle changes required after heart valve surgery.
  • A patient is generally asked to fast or avoid eating or drinking for 8 hours before the surgery.
  • A patient should inform the doctor of their list of medicines, supplements, herbs, and drug usage for numerous reasons. Also, women should inform a doctor, if they are pregnant or think she they.
  • A patient should tell his or her surgeon about their allergies to any medicines, anesthesia, latex, or tape.
  • If you have a medical history of bleeding disorders or if you are on blood thinners, your physician will stop these anticoagulant medicines before your surgery.
  • Your physician will get your blood tested for checking the bleeding time and clotting time.
  • Inform your physician if you have any pacemaker or other implanted cardiac devices in your body.
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing post-surgical complications. Hence if you are a smoker, it is best to stop smoking immediately.
  • Based on your medical history and current status of health, your physician will ask you to get any other specific tests done before the surgery.

What Happens During this Procedure?

A heart valve replacement and repair surgery steps vary depending on the age, condition, and severity of the valve issue.

Generally, heart valve replacement procedure includes:

  • The surgeon will ask the person to remove particular jewelry or objects that may interfere during the procedure.
  • A patient will be laid down on the operating bed and the healthcare professionals will start an intravenous (IV) line in the hand or arm to inject medicines or IV fluids.
  • The surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
  • The professionals will put catheters in blood vessels around the neck and wrist to monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, and draw blood samples.
  • The surgeon will put a breathing tube to the lungs through the mouth that will be connected to a ventilator – a machine that helps to breathe during the surgery.
  • The doctor will place a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) into the oesophagus so that the surgeon can monitor the patient’s valve functions.
  • The medical professionals will put a soft and flexible tube called a Foley Catheter into the bladder to get urine out from the body.
  • Also, a tube will be put into the stomach through the nose or mouth to drain stomach fluids.
  • A medical professional will clean the skin over the chest with an antiseptic. Also, the professional may shave off hair around the surgical site.

When the surgery starts

  • For the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision at the centre of the chest. If the patient is having a less invasive procedure, it may require smaller incisions.
  • The breastbone of the sternum is cut in half lengthwise. The surgeon will then separate the breastbone halves to expose the heart.
  • For valve replacement or repair, the doctor must stop the heart and connect a tube to the heart so that the blood can be pumped through a heart-lung bypass machine.
  • Once the blood is completely diverted into the bypass machine for pumping, the doctor will inject a cold solution to stop the heart.
  • Once the heart is stopped, the doctor will remove the diseased valve and place the artificial or metal valve.
  • After placing the valve, the doctor will shock the heart with small paddles to restart the heartbeat. Next, the surgeon will make blood circulation through the bypass machine to re-enter the heart.
  • Once the heart starts working again, the surgeon will monitor if the heart and valves are working properly. Also, the surgeon ensures there are no leaks from the surgery.
  • After confirming the healthy functioning of valves and heart, the surgeon will rejoin the sternum, sewing it back together.
  • The surgeon will put small tubes into the chest to eliminate blood and other fluids around the heart.
  • Next, the surgeon will stitch the skin over the sternum and close the incision with surgical staples or sutures.
  • The surgical site will be covered by a sterile bandage or dressing.

Recovery Period

The majority of patients after heart valve replacement stay in the hospital for a week or two. For the initial few days, the patient remains in the intensive care unit (ICU). The medical staff will monitor the blood pressure, heart pulse, and breathing for a few days post-surgery. Depending on the type of valve that is used, a patient may need to take blood-thinning medicines for life.

Full recovery may take a few weeks or months, depending on the type of heart valve replacement and the healing process. Infection is one of the major risks that might occur. Therefore, keep the incisions clean. Ensure that the patient immediately rushes to the surgeon if he or she experiences the symptoms of infection like:
  • Fever
  • Increased drainage from the incision site
  • Chills
  • Tenderness or swelling at the incision site

Post-Surgical Care

Once a patient is at his or her home, it is important that the surgical area and incisions are kept clean and dry. This helps to prevent any possible infection in the surgical area.

The surgeon will give specific bathing instructions that should be followed strictly. The sutures or surgical staples will be removed within a few days or before getting discharged from the hospital.

A patient should not perform any stressful activities until the doctor suggests to do so. Doctors will also recommend that the patient avoid driving in the meantime.

A patient should immediately rush to the surgeon if he or she experiences the following:

  • Weakness in the legs and arms
  • Easy bruising
  • Severe pain around the incision
  • Irregular or rapid heart pulse
  • Redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage from the incision or any of the catheter sites
  • Frequent nausea or vomiting
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) or higher, or chills
  • Breathing issues
  • Increased swelling in the abdomen and legs

The surgeon will give necessary instructions looking at the patient’s condition. Also, it is advisable to consult the doctor before using any drug, medicine, herb, supplement, or taking up any physical activity that promises recovery from heart valve replacement or boosting heart health.

Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR): What is it and How is it Done?

An aortic valve replacement (AVR) is a type of open-heart surgery that treats the problem related to the heart’s aortic valve. The aortic valve is responsible to regulate the flow of blood pumped by the heart to the entire body. Cardiologists explain the aortic valve contains three tissue flaps called cusps; hence it is a tricuspid valve.
A person is required to undergo an aortic valve replacement if his or her aortic valve is not working properly. Experts explain aortic valve regurgitation and aortic valve stenosis are two different types of problems that might require a valve replacement.
  • In aortic regurgitation, the valve is leaky. Some blood flows back to the heart instead of flowing to other parts of the body.
  • In aortic stenosis, the valve is unable to open fully. This results in less blood flowing to other parts of the body.

In both cases, a person is required to undergo aortic valve replacement surgery.

A person with poor aortic valve function may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Passing out
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties

If a person experiences these symptoms or they get worse, he or she may need to undergo the surgery.

A health expert can suggest undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery only after conducting an echocardiogram or heart ultrasound.

Aging is one of the common factors that result in aortic regurgitation and aortic stenosis. The other factors include:

  • Certain genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome
  • Birth defects
  • Heart valve bacterial infection

Risks of aortic valve replacement

Aortic valve replacement is a major surgery. There are certain risks involved like:

  • Infection
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Valve dysfunction in replacement valves
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Death, although rare

Understand the risks and precautions of this surgery from the doctor or surgeon before undergoing aortic valve replacement.

How to Prepare for AVR

Before undergoing the surgery, you should get all the details about aortic valve replacement from the doctor.

The patient is required to sign a permission form that permits the surgeon to perform the surgery. Read the form carefully and fill in all necessary details. In case of doubt ask a doctor or any healthcare professional.

A doctor may ask for a complete medical history, perform a few physical examinations and blood tests to ensure good health for the surgery.

The patient will be instructed to avoid consuming any food and fluids for 8 hours before the surgery. Generally, the patient is asked to stop eating or drinking after midnight.

If a woman is pregnant or thinks she is pregnant, should inform the health expert before the surgery.

A person should inform the doctor if he or she is allergic to anesthetic agents, medicines, tape, latex, and iodine. Also, a doctor should know the patient’s medicine, drug, supplement, or herbal intake to prevent any possible interactions or side effects.

A patient having a history of a bleeding disorder or using any anticoagulant medicines (blood-thinning drugs), aspirin, or any medicine should inform the surgeon as these drugs may affect blood clotting. The surgeon may instruct to stop certain medicines until surgery or post-surgery recovery.

A few doctors may perform a blood test before surgery to examine the person’s blood clotting procedure and healing.

A patient who smokes should avoid smoking as soon as possible. Health experts believe avoiding cigarette smoking improves the chances for a successful post-surgery. Overall, stopping smoking cigarettes is beneficial for health and well-being.

What Happens During AVR?

General anesthesia is used to perform an aortic valve replacement surgery. General anesthesia makes the patient unconscious throughout the procedure and he/she does not feel pain while the surgeon performs aortic valve replacement.

During the procedure, a surgeon makes a large incision approximately 25 cm long in the middle of the breastbone. This helps the doctor to access the heart properly and perform the surgery.

Next, the tubes are inserted in the heart and major blood vessels which are attached to the heart-lung machine (a bypass machine). This machine acts like the heart throughout the procedure.

The surgeon will inject a drug into the heart which will stop the heart. This also helps the main artery, Aorta, to stop working. This allows the surgeon to operate properly while the heart-lung machine takes care of the patient’s body.

The surgeon will open the aorta and remove the damaged aortic valve and place a new valve with the help of stitches.

Once done, the surgeon uses electric shocks to start the heart to pump again. As the heart starts to pump, the tubes and wires attached to the heart and major blood vessels are removed which were connected to the bypass machine.

After that, the surgeon joins the breastbone and the wounds on the chest are closed with the help of dissolvable stitches. The surgical site is then covered by bandages.

Recovery Period

Majority of patients who underwent heart valve replacement or repair surgery are advised to be under observation for a week. The medical care professionals will examine and monitor the patient’s heart functioning, breathing, blood pressure, and offer pain relief medicines accordingly.

A patient should know that a full recovery will take several months, depending on the age, healing rate, health condition, and the type of surgery.

Ensure the incisions are clean and dry. In case of infection or any health issue, contact the surgeon immediately. Also, contact the surgeon if the patient experiences the following:

  • Increased drainage from the incision area
  • Swelling or tenderness at the incision area
  • Fever
  • Chills

Ensure, before getting discharged from the hospital, the patient understands the ways to care and manage incision.

Post-Surgical Care

After the discharge, ensure someone drives the patient safely to his or her home.

  • A patient may feel exhausted post-surgery. Therefore, the patient needs to rest and regain his or her strength. It may take a few weeks to regain strength.
  • Once at home, the patient needs to check his or her body temperature and weight daily. If the body temperature is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or there is a change in body weight, contact the health expert immediately.
  • Do not lift heavy weighted objects for a few weeks. Consult a doctor before trying to lift heavy objects or while performing normal activities.
  • Follow the diet, exercises, medicines, and wound care instructed by the health expert.
  • Avoid performing stressful workouts until the doctor suggests.

A surgeon will set an appointment for stitches or staple removal post-surgery. Till that time, ensure healthy wound and incision care and safety.

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms and Risk Factors

Valvular heart disease or heart valve disease is a rare but serious condition that can be seen in all age groups but is more common in older adults. It is estimated that 13 percent of all people born before 1943 have valvular heart disease. In this article, we discuss the most common heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors.

The functions and normal anatomy of heart valves

The normal human heart has four valves that separate the chambers of the heart, as well as the ventricles from the aorta and pulmonary artery. These valves ensure that as the heart contracts, blood moves forward instead of flowing back to the previous chamber or blood vessel.

Heart valves are made out of strong, thin flaps of tissue called leaflets or cusps, which (when healthy) allow blood to only flow in one direction. There are structures within the heart that offer support to the tricuspid and mitral valves, such as the chordae tendineae and papillary muscles. The chordae tendineae is a strong fibrous string that attaches to the valves, allowing them to endure high levels of pressure when preventing the backflow of blood.

The other end of this chordae tendineae is attached to what we call papillary muscles, which are found on the inside of the ventricles and contract when resisting the backflow of blood to the atria.

Living with Heart Valve Disease: Management Tips

Heart valve disease, or valvular heart disease, is what happens when one or more of these valves are not functioning properly. This may be due to damage or disease. To live a healthy lifestyle nonetheless, heart valve disease management tips have to be followed. The four chambers of the heart are the right and left atria […]

Below is a brief elaboration of each valve’s location:

  • Mitral Valve – Found on the left side of the heart, separating the left atrium from the left ventricle. Interestingly, this valve only contains 2 leaflets, while the other valves have 3.
  • Tricuspid Valve – Located between the right ventricle and right atrium.
  • Pulmonic Valve – Located between the pulmonary artery and right ventricle.
  • Aortic Valve – Located between the left ventricle and the aorta.

Valvular diseases

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the heart valves fail to function normally. There are 3 types of alterations that occur in the heart valves:

Stenosis. This refers to a flap that has thickened, stiffened, or fused together. Because of this, the flap is no longer able to open completely, resulting in decreased blood flow to the chamber below the affected valve.

Regurgitation. This is the backflow of blood and occurs when a valve does not close completely, allowing blood to leak back into the previous or upper chamber in relation to the affected valve. This is commonly due to a flap that bulges back into the upper heart chamber (atria), a condition known as a heart valve prolapse.

Atresia. This is a congenital condition where there is no opening between the chambers of the heart.

Valvular heart disease may be caused by age-related changes, infections, birth defects, or other conditions, and can ultimately alter the ability of your heart to pump blood throughout your body. It should be noted that congenital heart valve disease commonly involves the pulmonary or aortic valves, while acquired heart valve disease usually affects the mitral or aortic valves.

Heart valve disease symptoms

Patients with heart valve disease may be asymptomatic and the condition may not cause any problems throughout their lifespan. However, other patients’ conditions may worsen and slowly develop symptoms. If not treated, heart valve disease may lead to stroke, heart failure, thrombus formation, or sudden cardiac arrest.

The major signs and symptoms of heart valve disease are listed below:

  • Heart murmur – an unusual heartbeat sound
  • Unusually fatigued or tired
  • Edema (swelling) of the legs, feet, ankles, abdomen, and jugular veins (veins of the neck)

Non-specific signs and symptoms include:

  • Chest pain upon exertion
  • A noticeable irregular, fluttering, or racing heartbeat
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

Heart valve disease risk factors

Risk factors for developing heart valve disease include:

  • Old age
  • Medical history of:
    • Rheumatic fever
    • Heart attack
    • Infective endocarditis
    • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • High serum cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity

As mentioned earlier, heart valve disease may also be a congenital condition, meaning that people may be born with the condition. Among this group of patients, there are those born with bicuspid/ bicommissural aortic valve, a condition where there is a fusion of 2 of the 3 aortic valves. These patients are at particular risk for developing aortic heart valve disease in the future.

Prevention of heart valve disease

Currently, there is no sure way to prevent the development of heart valve disease. However, there are studies that state that heart-healthy diets, and cholesterol-lowering medications may aid in preventing the development of aortic stenosis. The following are other practices that may help in preventing the development of heart valve disease:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Stress management
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Diet modification (increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and avoiding saturated and trans fats and high sugar food)
  • Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Identifying heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors is also an important part of lowering your risk of developing a serious case of this condition.

Treatment of heart valve disease

Medications that lower blood pressure, prevent the occurrence of arrhythmias, thin blood, prevent the development of blood clots, treat coronary heart disease, and treat heart failure may be provided to patients on a case-to-case basis.

Surgical intervention may be recommended to all patients with heart valve disease to replace or repair of these defects, as this can prevent permanent damage to the heart. This may be an option to patients based on their age, general health, and severity of the valve disease.

Key Takeaway

Valvular heart disease is a rare but serious condition. It alters the function of the heart valves and can obstructs the amount of blood that moves through the heart. A heart-healthy lifestyle and some medications for comorbid conditions may aid in lowering your risk of heart valve disease. Part of avoiding or detecting this condition early is knowing the heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors.

Understanding the Types of Heart Valve Stenosis

To answer this question, it’s important to understand how heart valve disease affects the body.

The heart valve is responsible for maintaining the one-way flow of blood through your heart. If the heart valve is functioning properly, the blood flows forward freely and there is no backward leakage.

When the heart valve is not functioning properly, this is known as heart valve disease.

There are two types of heart valve disease:

  • Valvular stenosis
  • Valvular regurgitation.

Heart valve stenosis occurs when a heart valve does not fully open, affecting blood flow. The cause of this is stiff or fused leaflets.

Heart Valve Stenosis, Explained

Heart valve stenosis is a kind of valvular heart disease or a disease that affects the valves of the heart. The human heart has four chambers. The upper chambers are called the left and right atriums while the lower chambers are called the left and right ventricles. These four chambers connect to valves at the exit, that

The Types of Heart Valve Stenosis

There are four types of heart valve stenosis, which are:

  • Tricuspid stenosis
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Aortic stenosis

Tricuspid Valve Stenosis

Tricuspid valve stenosis is a type of heart valve stenosis that involves the narrowing of the valve opening. This restricts the blood flow between the upper and lower part of the right side of the heart. This can lead to the right atrium becoming enlarged, which can affect the pressure and blood flow in the nearby chambers and veins.

Another effect of tricuspid valve stenosis is the possible shrinking of the right ventricle because blood flow to the right atrium is reduced. This will lead to less blood being circulated to the lungs, which means less oxygen.

Tricuspid valve stenosis is usually caused by infective endocarditis or rheumatic fever. Rarely, it is caused by a birth defect or tumors in the heart.

Normal symptoms of tricuspid valve stenosis are:

  • Mild palpitations
  • Cold skin
  • Fluttering discomfort in the chest
  • Fatigue

These symptoms can be normally treated with medicine and regular checkups. For severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of the valves may be recommended. As with many conditions affecting the heart, it’s best to note your symptoms and consult your doctor as needed.

What is Tricuspid Valve Disease?

What is tricuspid valve disease? Tricuspid valve disease happens due to an impairment of the function of the heart’s valves. In particular, the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn’t function properly. Tricuspid valve disease often occurs in conjunction with other heart valve problems. In severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of

Pulmonic Valve Stenosis

The second type of heart valve stenosis is pulmonary valve stenosis, which is a deformity of the pulmonary valve. It causes a narrowing, and, therefore, the slowing down of the blood flow. This pulmonary valve is located between the lower right heart chamber and the pulmonary artery.

This type of heart valve stenosis normally develops before birth and is known as a congenital heart defect. These cases can be categorized as mild to severe.

Mild pulmonary stenosis is normally stable, but severe cases normally worsen and require surgery. Fortunately, most treatments have a high success rate, allowing the person to lead a normal life.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
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If you or your child experience the following, see your doctor for a prompt evaluation and treatment to minimize future complications.

Mitral Valve Stenosis

One of the types of heart valve stenosis involves the mitral valve.

This type of stenosis occurs when the opening of the heart is narrowed. The mitral valve keeps blood flowing from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

In mitral stenosis, the mitral valve does not open fully. This results in not having enough blood to flow through the heart. This leads to fatigue, blood clots, difficulty in breathing, and heart failure.

Mitral valve stenosis is caused by rheumatic fever, the leading one cause behind this condition. However, there are cases that a congenital heart defect may cause this. Babies born with mitral valve stenosis will usually need surgery.

Symptoms

Early mitral stenosis usually does not have symptoms. If you have mitral valve stenosis, you will need to watch out for:

  • Chest pains
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the ankles or feet
  • Cough that may or may not have blood
  • Pinkish or purplish cheeks

Aortic Valve Stenosis

The last type of heart valve stenosis is the aortic valve s

which affects the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta. In this type of stenosis, the aortic valve stiffens and won’t open all the way. Your heart, therefore, is forced to work harder in order to pump blood.

Aortic valve stenosis can be congenital. This is a condition you can have even before you are born. Sometimes, it can be an acquired condition, wherein a bacterial infection causes the hardening of the leaflets from calcium and fat deposits. This can also be a result of damage from a heart attack.

Symptoms

Symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are similar to mitral valve stenosis, except for the pink or purplish cheeks. This condition can be diagnosed with the use of an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.

Treatment

There are also non-surgical medical treatments that can be done to manage aortic valve stenosis and prevent it from developing into something worse. Medical management is an option as long as the aortic stenosis is not yet severe. The doctor may prescribe medications to help ease the burden on your heart.

The other options to treat heart valve stenosis are to have a valvuloplasty or transcatheter aortic valve replacement. This will allow the affected heart valve to be replaced using a catheter, which is less invasive than an actual surgical aortic valve replacement.

Key Takeaways

Though there are four different types of heart valve stenosis, all of them can have significant detrimental effects on the heart and body.

When you suffer from heart valve stenosis, your heart will need to work harder to provide the body with the necessary amount of blood and oxygen it needs. So to take better care of your heart, regular checkups, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can make a huge difference.

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms and Risk Factors

Valvular heart disease or heart valve disease is a rare but serious condition that can be seen in all age groups but is more common in older adults. It is estimated that 13 percent of all people born before 1943 have valvular heart disease. In this article, we discuss the most common heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors.

The functions and normal anatomy of heart valves

The normal human heart has four valves that separate the chambers of the heart, as well as the ventricles from the aorta and pulmonary artery. These valves ensure that as the heart contracts, blood moves forward instead of flowing back to the previous chamber or blood vessel.

Heart valves are made out of strong, thin flaps of tissue called leaflets or cusps, which (when healthy) allow blood to only flow in one direction. There are structures within the heart that offer support to the tricuspid and mitral valves, such as the chordae tendineae and papillary muscles. The chordae tendineae is a strong fibrous string that attaches to the valves, allowing them to endure high levels of pressure when preventing the backflow of blood.

The other end of this chordae tendineae is attached to what we call papillary muscles, which are found on the inside of the ventricles and contract when resisting the backflow of blood to the atria.

Below is a brief elaboration of each valve’s location:

  • Mitral Valve – Found on the left side of the heart, separating the left atrium from the left ventricle. Interestingly, this valve only contains 2 leaflets, while the other valves have 3.
  • Tricuspid Valve – Located between the right ventricle and right atrium.
  • Pulmonic Valve – Located between the pulmonary artery and right ventricle.
  • Aortic Valve – Located between the left ventricle and the aorta.

Valvular diseases

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the heart valves fail to function normally. There are 3 types of alterations that occur in the heart valves:

Stenosis. This refers to a flap that has thickened, stiffened, or fused together. Because of this, the flap is no longer able to open completely, resulting in decreased blood flow to the chamber below the affected valve.

Regurgitation. This is the backflow of blood and occurs when a valve does not close completely, allowing blood to leak back into the previous or upper chamber in relation to the affected valve. This is commonly due to a flap that bulges back into the upper heart chamber (atria), a condition known as a heart valve prolapse.

Atresia. This is a congenital condition where there is no opening between the chambers of the heart.

Valvular heart disease may be caused by age-related changes, infections, birth defects, or other conditions, and can ultimately alter the ability of your heart to pump blood throughout your body. It should be noted that congenital heart valve disease commonly involves the pulmonary or aortic valves, while acquired heart valve disease usually affects the mitral or aortic valves.

Heart valve disease symptoms

Patients with heart valve disease may be asymptomatic and the condition may not cause any problems throughout their lifespan. However, other patients’ conditions may worsen and slowly develop symptoms. If not treated, heart valve disease may lead to stroke, heart failure, thrombus formation, or sudden cardiac arrest.

The major signs and symptoms of heart valve disease are listed below:

  • Heart murmur – an unusual heartbeat sound
  • Unusually fatigued or tired
  • Edema (swelling) of the legs, feet, ankles, abdomen, and jugular veins (veins of the neck)

Non-specific signs and symptoms include:

  • Chest pain upon exertion
  • A noticeable irregular, fluttering, or racing heartbeat
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

Heart valve disease risk factors

Risk factors for developing heart valve disease include:

  • Old age
  • Medical history of:
    • Rheumatic fever
    • Heart attack
    • Infective endocarditis
    • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • High serum cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity

As mentioned earlier, heart valve disease may also be a congenital condition, meaning that people may be born with the condition. Among this group of patients, there are those born with bicuspid/ commissural aortic valve, a condition where there is a fusion of 2 of the 3 aortic valves. These patients are at particular risk for developing aortic heart valve disease in the future.

Types of Heart Valve Disease

There are many types of heart valve disease, and to get the proper diagnosis and treatment, one must be thoroughly examined by a doctor.  Heart valve disease is defined as the dysfunction of any of the heart’s valves. The heart valve is part of the four chambers of your heart. It is responsible for maintaining the […]

Prevention of heart valve disease

Currently, there is no sure way to prevent the development of heart valve disease. However, there are studies that state that heart-healthy diets, and cholesterol-lowering medications may aid in preventing the development of aortic stenosis. The following are other practices that may help in preventing the development of heart valve disease:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Stress management
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Diet modification (increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and avoiding saturated and trans fats and high sugar food)
  • Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Identifying heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors is also an important part of lowering your risk of developing a serious case of this condition.

Treatment of heart valve disease

Medications that lower blood pressure, prevent the occurrence of arrhythmias, thin blood, prevent the development of blood clots, treat coronary heart disease, and treat heart failure may be provided to patients on a case-to-case basis.

Surgical intervention may be recommended to all patients with heart valve disease to replace or repair of these defects, as this can prevent permanent damage to the heart. This may be an option to patients based on their age, general health, and severity of the valve disease.

Key Takeaway

Valvular heart disease is a rare but serious condition. It alters the function of the heart valves and can obstructs the amount of blood that moves through the heart. A heart-healthy lifestyle and some medications for comorbid conditions may aid in lowering your risk of heart valve disease. Part of avoiding or detecting this condition early is knowing the heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors

What is Tricuspid Valve Disease?

What is tricuspid valve disease?

Tricuspid valve disease happens due to an impairment of the function of the heart’s valves. In particular, the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn’t function properly.

Tricuspid valve disease often occurs in conjunction with other heart valve problems.

In severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of the valve is needed to relieve symptoms.

There are several types of tricuspid valve disease, including:

Tricuspid valve regurgitation

In tricuspid valve regurgitation, the tricuspid valve doesn’t close properly, and blood flows back into your heart’s upper right chamber (right atrium).

Understanding Heart Valve Regurgitation

How exactly does heart valve regurgitation happen? To full understand this, we must first define heart valve disease and how it can impact cardiovascular function. Heart valve disease or valvular heart disease occurs when there is damage to one or more of the four heart valves. These valves regulate and control the forward distribution of blood through […]

Tricuspid atresia

In this congenital defect — a condition present at birth — the tricuspid valve isn’t formed properly. And a solid sheet of tissue blocks the blood flow between the right heart chambers.

Ebstein’s anomaly

Ebstein’s anomaly is another congenital heart defect. With this condition, a malformed tricuspid valve sits lower than normal in the right ventricle. This can cause blood to flow back into the right atrium (tricuspid valve regurgitation).

Tricuspid valve stenosis

In tricuspid valve stenosis, the narrowing of the tricuspid valve disrupts blood flow. This decreases the amount of blood that flows from the right atrium to the lower right heart chamber (right ventricle).

Heart Valve Stenosis, Explained

Heart Valve Stenosis, Explained

Heart valve stenosis is a kind of valvular heart disease, or a disease that affects the valves of the heart. The human heart has four chambers. The upper chambers are called the left and right atriums while the lower chambers are called the left and right ventricles. These four chambers connect to valves at the exit, that

Signs and Symptoms of Tricuspid Valve Disease

Tricuspid valve disease symptoms often do not appear until the condition has become severe. The common symptoms are:

  • Irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation)
  • Easily tired (fatigue)
  • A fluttering discomfort in the neck
  • With severe disease, heart failure symptoms (abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the belly, legs, or ankles)

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When Should I See My Doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Because symptoms do not always appear until the condition has become severe, regular check ups with your doctor are crucial. Your doctor may detect this condition as a heart murmur, or may spot the condition in an echocardiogram, an ultrasound imaging of the heart.

What Causes Tricuspid Valve Disease?

There are a number of causes for tricuspid valve disease. These range from complications that arise from other conditions to congenital defects:

  • Infection, such as rheumatic fever or infective endocarditis
  • A dilated right ventricle, causing the annulus (a ring of tough fibrous tissue which is attached to and supports the leaflets of the valve) of the tricuspid valve to enlarge
  • Increased pressure through the tricuspid valve (seen with pulmonary hypertension)
  • Less common causes include congenital defects, trauma, carcinoid heart disease, tumor, tricuspid valve prolapse, Ebstein’s anomaly, systemic lupus, and trauma.

How is Tricuspid Valve Disease Diagnosed?

Tricuspid valve disease is often first diagnosed during a physical exam. The doctor will often hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow through the valve). Other signs your doctor may find are an irregular pulse and a fluttering or abnormal pulsation in your neck (jugular vein).

To find out more, your doctor may request for a number of tests to be performed. Tests used to diagnose valve disease may include:

  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Radionuclide scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

How Is Tricuspid Valve Disease Treated?

Once this condition is diagnosed, your doctor will want to monitor the progress of your valve disease with regular appointments. These may be once a year, or they may be more often, if your doctor feels your condition needs to be observed more closely.

Your appointment will include a medical exam. Diagnostic studies may be repeated at regular intervals.

Your physician may prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. These medications may include drugs to treat heart failure or medications to control irregular heart rhythms.

When valve disease is severe, it may be necessary to repair or replace the diseased valve.

Tricuspid valve repair using an annuloplasty ring is the preferred surgical approach for tricuspid regurgitation and may be performed for primary tricuspid disease or for combined cases with other valve surgery (mitral, aortic).

When the valve can not be repaired, a valve replacement will be performed.

Key Takeaways

If you have tricuspid valve disease, you are at risk for getting endocarditis, an infection that causes damage to the heart valves (even if your valve has been repaired or replaced with surgery). You will need to follow these guidelines:

  • Tell your doctors and dentist you have valve disease. You may want to carry a card with this information.
  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection (sore throat, general body achiness, and fever). Colds and flus do not cause endocarditis. But, infections, which may have the same symptoms, do. So, to be safe, call your doctor.
  • Take good care of your teeth and gums to prevent infections. See your dentist for regular visits.
  • Take antibiotics before you undergo any procedure that may cause bleeding.

Heart Valve Stenosis, Explained

Heart valve stenosis is a kind of valvular heart disease or a disease that affects the valves of the heart.

The human heart has four chambers. The upper chambers are called the left and right atriums while the lower chambers are called the left and right ventricles.

These four chambers connect to valves at the exit, which is responsible for maintaining continuous blood flow from the heart to an individual’s entire body.

When they work normally, the heart valves do two things: open all the way to let blood flow through them and keep blood flowing in one direction.

These valves function to stop the blood from flowing backward, preventing blood rich in oxygen from mixing with blood lacking in oxygen. When one of these valves fails to open or close properly, it is called valvular heart disease, or heart valve disease.

One type of valvular heart disease is heart valve stenosis.

What Causes Heart Valve Stenosis?

Valvular heart disease can develop before a person is born, or as one age. There are multiple causes for Valvular Heart Disease, and not all of them are known.

Here are some of the known causes:

  • Rheumatic fever, wherein a bacterial infection may damage the heart. Its sequelae, called rheumatic heart disease, is the result of our body’s exaggerated immune response to the bacteria that caused the rheumatic fever.
  • Cardiomyopathy, when the heart muscle is diseased, Coronary heart disease, and Heart attack
  • Syphilis
  • Atherosclerosis and High blood pressure
  • Aortic aneurysms, or the enlargement of the aorta
  • Connective tissue diseases

Heart valve stenosis is described as the stiffening of the heart, which can narrow the size of the valve openings. This can lead to a restricted flow of blood.

In severe cases, this can result in the rest of the body not receiving adequate blood flow.

What are the Types of Cardiac Stenosis?

Each valve has its own type of heart valve stenosis.

Pulmonary heart valve stenosis

The pulmonary valve narrows and restricts the flow of oxygen-poor blood towards the lungs. This impedes the blood from picking up oxygen and delivering it to the rest of your body. When the pulmonary valve is narrow, the right ventricle must exert more effort, which leads to increased pressure inside the heart.

Mitral Valve Stenosis

Blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle is reduced. This leads to fatigue or shortness of breath since the flow of oxygen-rich blood coming from the lungs is lessened. Mitral Valve Stenosis can cause the left atrium to enlarge and for fluid to build up in the lungs.

Tricuspid Valve Stenosis

Blood flow from the right ventricle to the right atrium is restricted. This may lead to the enlargement of the atrium and affect the pressure and blood flow from surrounding veins and chambers. It can also lead to the right ventricle losing size which may lead to oxygen-poor blood reaching the lungs.

Aortic Valve Stenosis

In this heart valve stenosis, the blood flow is restricted from your heart to the aorta (the main artery leading to the rest of your body). This may lead to your left ventricle pushing harder to let blood flow through. The ventricle can thicken over time and lead to less efficiency in the heart.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms for heart valve stenosis may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Doctors can use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and detect if there are any problems.

They listen in on potential clicking sounds or “heart murmurs” that potentially signify heart problems. Other possible diagnostic tests your doctor may perform are:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Echocardiography to determine how severe the narrowing or regurgitation of blood
  • Echocardiography can see these enlarged valves / heart chambers.
  • Cardiac MRI to give a three-dimensional image of your heart and valves
  • Coronary angiography to identify stenosis or regurgitation, mostly helpful in determining if the patient is in need of surgery

Treatment

For some people, treatment for heart valve stenosis may not be necessary. Unfortunately for others, surgery might be necessary to replace and repair the affected valve.

Heart valves may be repaired by patching up holes or tears, separating valve leaflets, or reshaping valves so that they can properly open and close.

Valvuloplasty, a process that uses a balloon to dilate the valve, may be considered as an option depending on one’s age and the severity of the condition.

How to Prevent Heart Valve Stenosis

The risk of developing heart valve stenosis can be lowered by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These include:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Consume less alcohol
  • Manage your stress

Because the heart is the seat of crucial bodily functions, a disruption in its processes can have grave effects on the rest of the body.

So knowing the heart’s intricacies, from each valve and the function it serves, is one of the best ways to care for our overall health.

Tricuspid Valve Disease?

Tricuspid valve disease happens due to an impairment of the function of the heart’s valves. In particular, the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn’t function properly.

Tricuspid valve disease often occurs in conjunction with other heart valve problems.

In severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of the valve is needed to relieve symptoms.

There are several types of tricuspid valve disease, including:

Tricuspid valve regurgitation

In tricuspid valve regurgitation, the tricuspid valve doesn’t close properly, and blood flows back into your heart’s upper right chamber (right atrium).

Understanding Heart Valve Regurgitation

How exactly does heart valve regurgitation happen? To full understand this, we must first define heart valve disease and how it can impact cardiovascular function. Heart valve disease or valvular heart disease occurs when there is damage to one or more of the four heart valves. These valves regulate and control the forward distribution of blood through […]

Tricuspid atresia

In this congenital defect — a condition present at birth — the tricuspid valve isn’t formed properly. And a solid sheet of tissue blocks the blood flow between the right heart chambers.

Ebstein’s anomaly

Ebstein’s anomaly is another congenital heart defect. With this condition, a malformed tricuspid valve sits lower than normal in the right ventricle. This can cause blood to flow back into the right atrium (tricuspid valve regurgitation).

Tricuspid valve stenosis

In tricuspid valve stenosis, the narrowing of the tricuspid valve disrupts blood flow. This decreases the amount of blood that flows from the right atrium to the lower right heart chamber (right ventricle).

Signs and Symptoms of Tricuspid Valve Disease

Tricuspid valve disease symptoms often do not appear until the condition has become severe. The common symptoms are:

  • Irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation)
  • Easily tired (fatigue)
  • A fluttering discomfort in the neck
  • With severe disease, heart failure symptoms (abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the belly, legs, or ankles)

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When Should I See My Doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Because symptoms do not always appear until the condition has become severe, regular checkups with your doctor are crucial. Your doctor may detect this condition like a heart murmur or may spot the condition in an echocardiogram, an ultrasound imaging of the heart.

What Causes Tricuspid Valve Disease?

There are a number of causes for tricuspid valve disease. These range from complications that arise from other conditions to congenital defects:

  • Infection, such as rheumatic fever or infective endocarditis
  • A dilated right ventricle, causing the annulus (a ring of tough fibrous tissue which is attached to and supports the leaflets of the valve) of the tricuspid valve to enlarge
  • Increased pressure through the tricuspid valve (seen with pulmonary hypertension)
  • Less common causes include congenital defects, trauma, carcinoid heart disease, tumor, tricuspid valve prolapse, Ebstein’s anomaly, systemic lupus, and trauma.
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How is Tricuspid Valve Disease Diagnosed?

Tricuspid valve disease is often first diagnosed during a physical exam. The doctor will often hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow through the valve). Other signs your doctor may find are an irregular pulse and a fluttering or abnormal pulsation in your neck (jugular vein).

To find out more, your doctor may request for a number of tests to be performed. Tests used to diagnose valve disease may include:

  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Radionuclide scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

How Is Tricuspid Valve Disease Treated?

Once this condition is diagnosed, your doctor will want to monitor the progress of your valve disease with regular appointments. These may be once a year, or they may be more often if your doctor feels your condition needs to be observed more closely.

Your appointment will include a medical exam. Diagnostic studies may be repeated at regular intervals.

Your physician may prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. These medications may include drugs to treat heart failure or medications to control irregular heart rhythms.

When valve disease is severe, it may be necessary to repair or replace the diseased valve.

Tricuspid valve repair using an annuloplasty ring is the preferred surgical approach for tricuspid regurgitation and may be performed for primary tricuspid disease or for combined cases with other valve surgery (mitral, aortic).

When the valve can not be repaired, a valve replacement will be performed.

Key Takeaways

If you have tricuspid valve disease, you are at risk for getting endocarditis, an infection that causes damage to the heart valves (even if your valve has been repaired or replaced with surgery). You will need to follow these guidelines:

  • Tell your doctors and dentist you have valve disease. You may want to carry a card with this information.
  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection (sore throat, general body achiness, and fever). Colds and flus do not cause endocarditis. But, infections, which may have the same symptoms, do. So, to be safe, call your doctor.
  • Take good care of your teeth and gums to prevent infections. See your dentist for regular visits.
  • Take antibiotics before you undergo any procedure that may cause bleeding.

Understanding Heart Valve Regurgitation

How exactly does heart valve regurgitation happen?

To full understand this, we must first define heart valve disease and how it can impact cardiovascular function.

Heart valve disease or valvular heart disease occurs when there is damage to one or more of the four heart valves. These valves regulate and control the forward distribution of blood through the heart, to the lungs and the rest of the body.

They are also responsible for collecting oxygen-poor blood from the body for proper oxygenation through the lungs. It is important that the oxygen-rich blood does not mix with oxygen-poor blood.

Heart valve diseases are usually primarily concerned with the mitral and aortic valves. A fully functional valve pushes blood forward in the right direction. In cases of heart valve disease, the valves either fail to open smoothly or close tightly.

If the valve fails to open, the blood is forced to back up in the heart chamber. If the valve fails to close, blood may leak back into the chamber where it previously came from.

The build-up of blood in the chambers of the heart causes blood clots, which can lead to serious complications such as stroke, pulmonary embolism, or in extreme cases, congestive heart failure.

What is heart valve regurgitation?

Regurgitation is defined as blood leaking backwards through a damaged valve. The leaking is because the valve is unable to close properly, allowing blood to escape back into the chamber it exited. Because blood is meant to move forward, the leak causes a disruption.

This means that less blood is pumped out of the heart to the lungs or to the body. What’s more, this puts a strain on the heart, which loses its ability to efficiently pump oxygen-rich blood to the body.

The types of heart valve regurgitation depend on which valve is affected. Here are the types of heart valve regurgitation.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

A mitral valve regurgitation affects the mitral valve, causing leakage into the left atrium from the left ventricle. This disrupts the distribution of blood to the rest of the body, meaning less blood is pumped out to the body.

Because the leakage causes blood build-up and increased pressure, the atrium might become enlarged. Regurgitation also blocks the flow of blood from the lungs, causing congestion or fluid build-up in the lungs.

Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation

A tricuspid valve regurgitation occurs when the tricuspid valve malfunctions. Instead of a forward push towards the right ventricle, the leakage brings the blood backward into the right atrium. This may cause enlargement of the atrium.

Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation

A pulmonary valve regurgitation disrupts the blood movement from the right ventricle, or lower right chamber of the heart, into the lungs. The backward movement allows the intermingling of oxygenated blood with oxygen-poor blood. Thus, the oxygen-rich blood is not properly distributed to fuel the human body.

Aortic Valve Regurgitation

An aortic valve regurgitation prevents the further distribution of oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Because of the defective aortic valve, blood leaks from the aorta back to the left ventricle instead of forward. Since the body is not receiving enough blood, the heart pumps double time to address the lack of supply. As time passes, the thickening of the ventricles increases the likelihood of heart failure.

What causes heart valve regurgitation?

Heart valve diseases may be due to congenital or acquired causes. The kinds of congenital diseases are:

  • Congenital valvular heart disease. The size or shape of the valve may be wrong, or its flaps are not properly attached.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve disease. This birth defect affects the aortic valve, which normally have three flaps or leaflets. A bicuspid aortic valve has only two, and the absence of one means the valve is unable to close properly and regurgitation occurs.
  • Marfan syndrome. This is a connective tissue disease that may affect the tissues connecting the heart, resulting in mitral valve prolapse and aortic valve regurgitation.

Meanwhile, acquired causes may include the following:

  • Rheumatic fever. This inflammatory disease can damage the heart valves as the body fights the streptococcal bacteria infection if left untreated.
  • Infective endocarditis. Bacteria or other germs can infect the heart valves once they pass through the bloodstream.
  • Radiation therapy. This increases the risk of valvular heart disease for patients who undergo radiation therapy to the chest.

Another cause for heart valve regurgitation is age, due to the degenerative changes in the body as a result of normal aging. Other pre-existing conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and cardiomyopathy can also lead to valvular heart disease because of the damage to the heart muscle. High blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart tumors can also contribute to heart valve problems. Some medications, such as methysergide used to treat migraines, and some drugs for dieting can increase the risk of this heart disease.

Signs and symptoms to watch out for

Symptoms may develop gradually as the heart attempts to compensate for the damaged valve. A person may go years without being aware of having heart valve regurgitation. However, once their condition worsens, the symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen feet
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Irregular pulse
  • Heart murmur
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations

It is important to consult a doctor immediately and undergo physical examination in order to prevent more serious complications such as stroke, heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, infection, or even pulmonary hypertension. Other forms of medical examination include electrocardiogram, stress testing, chest x-rays, echocardiogram, and cardiac catheterization.

Key Takeaways

A heart valve regurgitation is a type of heart valve disease that causes blood leakage within the chambers of the heart due to defective heart valves. There are treatments for heart valve regurgitation such as antibiotics, medications, anticoagulants, and valve surgery. Nevertheless, it is best to lead a healthy heart lifestyle.

Understanding the Types of Heart Valve Prolapse

Cardiovascular or heart disease ranks highly as a major cause of death. In the Philippines, an annual average of 118,740 Filipinos have cardiac-related deaths. There is a 5% increase each year on this average. Valvular heart disease is one kind of heart disease.

Valvular heart disease occurs when one or more of the valves of the heart fail to function properly. A human heart has four chambers with four corresponding valves at the exit of each heart chamber.

The heart valves have flaps, referred to as leaflets or cusps, that allow entry or exit of the blood. The valves primarily ensure that the blood flows forward–not backward–in the right direction through the four chambers and to the rest of the body.

The Four Chambers of the Heart

  • Upper chambers (collectively, the atria)
    • Right atrium: Receives blood from the body
    • Left atrium: Receives oxygenated blood from the lungs
  • Lower chambers
    • Right ventricle: Pumps blood to the lungs
    • Left ventricle: Pumps blood to the rest of the body

The 4 Heart Valves

  • Tricuspid valve: Separates the right atrium from the right ventricle
  • Mitral valve: Pumps blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle
  • Pulmonary valve: Separates the right ventricle from the lungs
  • Aortic valve: Separates the left ventricle from the aorta (the main vessel to carry blood to the body)

The beat behind the chambers and the valves

It all begins with a person’s heartbeat. When the heart pumps, blood flows from the body and the lungs into the right and left atrium. At the bottom of these chambers are the tricuspid and mitral valves. As the atria fills up, these two valves open to allow blood flow into the right and left ventricles.

As the ventricles fill up, the tricuspid and mitral valves close to prevent the blood from returning to the atria. Once full, the ventricles contract and pump blood through the pulmonary and aortic valves. On one hand, the pulmonary valve brings the blood to the lungs in order to pick up oxygen.

Meanwhile, the aortic valve allows blood to flow from the left ventricle into the main artery that carries the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. As the ventricles contract, the pulmonary and aortic valves shut so that blood does not return into the ventricles.

With each heartbeat, this process repeats itself causing the continuous flow of blood throughout the heart, lungs, and body.

The heart valves are important in preventing the backward flow of blood to avoid mixing the oxygen-poor blood with the oxygen-rich blood. Consequently, when one or more of the heart valves do not open or close properly, a person suffers from heart valve disease.

The types of heart valve prolapse

One type of heart valve disease is valvular prolapse. This occurs when the valves do not close properly because the flaps either slip out of place or bulge upward. As a result of the uneven or improper closure, blood may leak backward, disturbing the normal forward direction of the blood flow.

Here are the types of heart valve prolapse:

Mitral valve prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse is the more common type of heart valve prolapse. It is also known as a click-murmur syndrome, Barlow’s syndrome, or floppy valve syndrome.

This occurs when the two flaps of the mitral valve do not close properly. A part or the entire flap of the mitral valve bulges–or prolapses–upward into the left atrium whenever the two ventricles contract.

Tricuspid, pulmonary and aortic valve prolapse

The other types of heart valve prolapse affects the other valves. As in the first case, the valve flaps or leaflets fail to fully close into a tight seal.

A tricuspid prolapse usually affects three leaflets.

Detection and treatment of heart valve prolapse

For a mitral valve prolapse, the cause can be attributed to genetics, such as when a person is born with the risk of developing this type of heart valve prolapse.

Heart valve prolapse can also be caused by medical conditions, such as people with connective-tissue diseases, like Marfan syndrome, which are diseases that affect certain tissues in the body.

The types of heart valve prolapse are mostly harmless and may even go undetected without any effect on a person’s health.

However, some symptoms include:

  • chest discomfort
  • the feeling of the heart beating fast or beating hard (palpitations)
  • Fatigue, fainting or feeling dizzy

Because the leaflets of the mitral valve prolapse, the valve tissues become stretchy. As a result, the valve leaks a small amount of blood, which may cause a heart murmur.

A physician can conduct a routine physical examination through a stethoscope to determine the existence of a murmur. Your doctor will hear a “click” when he listens to your heart with a stethoscope.

In case a heart murmur is detected, an echocardiogram is usually the next step. This test makes use of sound waves to create a picture of the heart as it beats.

This will determine the amount of blood leaking from the valve into the chambers. An angiogram may also be needed.

Treatment of mitral valve prolapse depends on whether the symptoms and the heart function are getting worse. Sometimes, treatment is not required save for prescribed medication or simple prevention of complications. This type of heart valve prolapse rarely becomes a serious condition.

However, it becomes serious when the mitral valve prolapse results in abnormal heartbeats or when there is too much valve leakage that may further cause complications, like stroke. It is always best to consult with a doctor for how to manage the condition.

Key Takeaways

Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work well. A prolapse is when the valve flaps fall out of place. There are two types of heart valve prolapse, with mitral prolapse as the more common of the two.

Generally, this type of condition is harmless although it is best to be diagnosed in order to prevent serious complications.

Understanding Heart Valve Regurgitation

To full understand this, we must first define heart valve disease and how it can impact cardiovascular function.

Heart valve disease or valvular heart disease occurs when there is damage to one or more of the four heart valves. These valves regulate and control the forward distribution of blood through the heart, to the lungs and the rest of the body.

They are also responsible for collecting oxygen-poor blood from the body for proper oxygenation through the lungs. It is important that the oxygen-rich blood does not mix with oxygen-poor blood.

What is heart valve regurgitation?

Regurgitation is defined as blood leaking backwards through a damaged valve. The leaking is because the valve is unable to close properly, allowing blood to escape back into the chamber it exited. Because blood is meant to move forward, the leak causes a disruption.

This means that less blood is pumped out of the heart to the lungs or to the body. What’s more, this puts a strain on the heart, which loses its ability to efficiently pump oxygen-rich blood to the body.

The types of heart valve regurgitation depend on which valve is affected. Here are the types of heart valve regurgitation.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

A mitral valve regurgitation affects the mitral valve, causing leakage into the left atrium from the left ventricle. This disrupts the distribution of blood to the rest of the body, meaning less blood is pumped out to the body.

Because the leakage causes blood build-up and increased pressure, the atrium might become enlarged. Regurgitation also blocks the flow of blood from the lungs, causing congestion or fluid build-up in the lungs.

Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation

A tricuspid valve regurgitation occurs when the tricuspid valve malfunctions. Instead of a forward push towards the right ventricle, the leakage brings the blood backward into the right atrium. This may cause enlargement of the atrium.

Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation

A pulmonary valve regurgitation disrupts the blood movement from the right ventricle, or lower right chamber of the heart, into the lungs. The backward movement allows the intermingling of oxygenated blood with oxygen-poor blood. Thus, the oxygen-rich blood is not properly distributed to fuel the human body.

Aortic Valve Regurgitation

An aortic valve regurgitation prevents the further distribution of oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Because of the defective aortic valve, blood leaks from the aorta back to the left ventricle instead of forward. Since the body is not receiving enough blood, the heart pumps double time to address the lack of supply. As time passes, the thickening of the ventricles increases the likelihood of heart failure.

What causes heart valve regurgitation?

Heart valve diseases may be due to congenital or acquired causes. The kinds of congenital diseases are:

  • Congenital valvular heart disease. The size or shape of the valve may be wrong, or its flaps are not properly attached.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve disease. This birth defect affects the aortic valve, which normally have three flaps or leaflets. A bicuspid aortic valve has only two, and the absence of one means the valve is unable to close properly and regurgitation occurs.
  • Marfan syndrome. This is a connective tissue disease that may affect the tissues connecting the heart, resulting in mitral valve prolapse and aortic valve regurgitation.

Meanwhile, acquired causes may include the following:

  • Rheumatic fever. This inflammatory disease can damage the heart valves as the body fights the streptococcal bacteria infection if left untreated.
  • Infective endocarditis. Bacteria or other germs can infect the heart valves once they pass through the bloodstream.
  • Radiation therapy. This increases the risk of valvular heart disease for patients who undergo radiation therapy to the chest.

Another cause for heart valve regurgitation is age, due to the degenerative changes in the body as a result of normal aging. Other pre-existing conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and cardiomyopathy can also lead to valvular heart disease because of the damage to the heart muscle. High blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart tumors can also contribute to heart valve problems. Some medications, such as methysergide used to treat migraines, and some drugs for dieting can increase the risk of this heart disease.

Signs and symptoms to watch out for

Symptoms may develop gradually as the heart attempts to compensate for the damaged valve. A person may go years without being aware of having heart valve regurgitation. However, once their condition worsens, the symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen feet
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Irregular pulse
  • Heart murmur
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations

It is important to consult a doctor immediately and undergo physical examination in order to prevent more serious complications such as stroke, heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, infection, or even pulmonary hypertension. Other forms of medical examination include electrocardiogram, stress testing, chest x-rays, echocardiogram, and cardiac catheterization.

Key Takeaways

A heart valve regurgitation is a type of heart valve disease that causes blood leakage within the chambers of the heart due to defective heart valves. There are treatments for heart valve regurgitation such as antibiotics, medications, anticoagulants, and valve surgery. Nevertheless, it is best to lead a healthy heart lifestyle.

Living with Heart Valve Disease: Management Tips

Heart valve disease, or valvular heart disease, is what happens when one or more of these valves are not functioning properly. This may be due to damage or disease. To live a healthy lifestyle nonetheless, heart valve disease management tips have to be followed.

The four chambers of the heart are the right and left atria and the right and left ventricle. The chambers are connected by valves – the mitral, tricuspid, aortal, and pulmonary valves.

These open and shut to ensure a one-way flow of blood throughout the heart and the rest of the body. This is so that oxygen-rich blood does not mix in with oxygen-poor blood, which can reduce the efficiency of blood flow throughout the body.

Some individuals who have valvular heart disease may show little or no symptoms at all. For more severe cases, however, symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Water retention
  • Pulmonary edema, or having excessive fluid in the lungs

Management Tips for Heart Valve Disease

To better understand how to manage heart valve disease, it helps to know what exactly causes this condition.

Heart valve disease may arise congenitally, or before or at birth, or as one grows older. Not all causes for valvular heart disease are currently known.

Known causes for valvular heart disease include:

  • Valvular heart disease due to birth defect
  • Endocarditis, when the heart tissue is inflamed
  • Rheumatic Fever, a bacterial infection that may damage the heart
  • Aging
  • Heart attack and coronary heart disease, or the narrowing of arteries that supply the heart
  • Cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease
  • Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease
  • Aortic aneurysm, when the aorta is dangerously enlarged
  • Hypertension and Atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries
  • Lupus, and other connective tissue diseases

Types of Heart Valve Disease

There are many types of heart valve disease, and to get the proper diagnosis and treatment, one must be thoroughly examined by a doctor.  Heart valve disease is defined as the dysfunction of any of the heart’s valves. The heart valve is part of the four chambers of your heart. It is responsible for maintaining the

How to Prevent Heart Valve Disease

To lessen the risk of of developing valvular heart disease, one must adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Quit Smoking

Giving up cigarette smoking is one of the best ways to ensure overall health. Not only does having less nicotine in the body help boost lung health, it could also prevent health complications like heart valve disease. Giving up smoking can also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and immune system issues.

References

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