What is Valvular Heart Disease?

For the heart to work right, blood must flow in only one direction. The heart's valves make this possible. Healthy valves open and close in a precise way as the heart pumps blood.

Heart valve heart disease is a form of structural heart disease that occurs when your heart's valves do not work correctly, preventing the heart from providing adequate circulation for the body. If left untreated, this condition can significantly reduce quality of life or be life-threatening. Heart valve problems are one of the leading causes of congestive of heart failure.

Many people don't have signs or symptoms of heart valve disease until they're middle-aged or older, but valve disease can occur

at any age. Symptoms may often develop very slowly, sometimes even over months or years. Some of the causes of valve disease are calcification or degeneration of valve tissue, heart attacks from coronary artery disease, infections, or conditions present from birth.

Heart valves can have one of three malfunctions:

  1. Regurgitation - The valve does not close completely, causing the blood to flow backward instead of forward through the valve.
  2. Stenosis - The valve opening becomes narrowed, inhibiting the flow of blood out of the heart chambers. The heart is forced to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed and stiff  valve.
  3. Mixed Lesions - This occurs when the valve has a combination of both regurgitation and insufficiency.