Heart Valve Disease

The flow of blood within your heart is guided by four valves that open and shut in a particular pattern. When one or more of those valves aren’t working properly, the resulting condition is called heart valve disease, which is serious but treatable.

Abnormal blood flow within the heart.

Heart valve disease occurs when the malfunction of one or more valves interferes with the proper movement of blood within the heart. A malfunctioning valve can reduce or block the flow of blood through the heart or cause it to move in the wrong direction.

In many cases, the first sign of this condition is a heart murmur, which your doctor may be able to hear using a stethoscope. Swelling of the feet and ankles can also be an early symptom of heart valve disease. Other possible signs of this condition include an irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Because its symptoms often develop slowly, heart valve disease may go undetected for years. And yet it can be a life-threatening condition, leading to heart failure, stroke, or other medical emergencies. If you suspect you have heart valve issues and are experiencing associated symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately.

Some people are born with valve defects, and some develop heart valve disease as a result of other medical issues. For example, heart valve disease can be caused by infections or by other cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension and high cholesterol.

A number of factors may increase your risk of developing heart valve disease. These include older age, diabetes, a personal history of heart attack or infection, any family history of heart issues, and certain lifestyle factors.

In order to determine the best treatment options, it’s important for your doctors to thoroughly understand your condition. At Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates, we rely on a number of informative tests, including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and stress tests. These diagnostics give us the data we need to create the right treatment plan for your individual situation.

Sometimes medication alone can reduce the symptoms of heart valve disease and keep the condition from progressing. We also work with patients to make positive lifestyle changes and then monitor their condition with regular appointments.

In cases that involve more advanced heart valve problems, surgical approaches may be used to repair or replace a malfunctioning valve. Our team turns to surgical solutions only after exercising all other treatment options.