Heart Valve Disease

The heart has four valves that can be affected by disease. Heart valve conditions include regurgitation, stenosis and atresia. Regurgitation occurs when the valve doesn’t close properly and blood leaks back into the chamber. Stenosis is a condition that prevents the heart valve from fully opening and atresia happens if there is no opening in the heart valve for blood to flow through.

An unusual heartbeat sound called a murmur is the most common sign of heart valve disease. Your doctor can hear a heart murmur through a stethoscope. Other diagnostic tests include cardiac catheterization, stress testing and echocardiography.

Treatment varies depending on the type of heart valve disease you have. Often times, lifestyle changes and medication can help manage the symptoms. Other times, surgery may be needed.