Mercy Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates
Valvular Heart Disease
The heart has valves that control the blood flow to and from the heart. When heart valves are diseased they can narrow, creating a condition called stenosis. Stenosis can prevent blood flowing quickly and freely to and from the heart, disease can also create a leak, a condition called regurgitation, which causes blood to flow in the opposite direction through the valve. Heart valve damage can be caused by congenital heart conditions, rheumatic fever, endocarditis (inflammation of the heart lining), atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries), and calcium deposit buildup around/within the valve.
Symptoms of valvular heart disease include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Palpitations (rapid, noticeable heart beats)
- Swelling of feet and/or ankles
Our cardiothoracic surgeons specialize in treating conditions created by valvular heart disease utilizing complex valve repair and replacement
techniques. They treat most isolated valve conditions with a mininally invasive approach. During open surgery the patient’s chest cavity is opened and surgeons either repair the existing damaged valve or replace it with an artificial (mechanical) or bioprosthetic valve made of animal or human tissue. Complex valve repair and replacement surgery is most often performed for mitral valve damage or blockage.