A variety of conditions, such as age-related changes, can cause one or more of your heart’s valves to function improperly. Expert cardiologists Tzy-Shiuan Kuo, MD, and Imam Tjahja, MD, diagnose and treat all types of valvular heart disease at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas in Helotes, Texas. For the highest-quality care in valvular heart disease treatment, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Your heart has four valves: the mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonary valves. Each of these valves contains flaps of tissue that open and close every time your heart beats. The valves help blood flow in the right direction through the four chambers of your heart.
Valvular heart disease happens when one or more of these valves doesn’t function properly. This may cause problems with the way blood flows through your heart.
In valvular stenosis, the tissue flaps become stiff and may fuse together. This prevents the valve from opening enough to allow for proper blood flow. Valvular stenosis causes your heart to pump harder, resulting in strain as well as reduced blood flow.
Also called regurgitation, incompetence, or a leaky valve, valvular insufficiency happens when the tissue flaps don’t close all the way. This allows blood to leak backward.
You may have valvular heart disease for many years without experiencing any symptoms. Your primary care physician may discover you have a heart valve disease if they hear an abnormal sound (heart murmur) when they listen to your heart through a stethoscope.
Other signs and symptoms of valvular heart disease include:
Because these symptoms are very similar to other cardiovascular conditions like congestive heart failure, accurate diagnosis at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas is the best way to find out if your symptoms are due to valvular heart disease.
First, your cardiologist at the CardioVascular Institute of South Texas reviews your symptoms and medical history. During your physical exam, they listen to your heart to check for murmur sounds. They may also conduct diagnostic tests such as:
Then, they develop a personalized treatment plan based on the type and severity of your heart valve disease.
Mild cases with no symptoms may only require healthy lifestyle choices, such as avoiding cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. You may need to return to the CardioVascular Institute of South Texas for follow-up visits to monitor your condition.
If your valvular heart disease is severe or becoming progressively worse, the team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas may prescribe medications to manage your condition. Advanced cases may require surgery to repair or replace the heart valve.
To learn more about living with valvular heart disease, call CardioVascular Institute of South Texas or book an appointment online today.