Health A-Z

Valve Disease

Clinical Definition

Valve disease, or valvular heart disease, occurs when the cardiac valves (mitral, tricuspid, aortic, pulmonic) do not function correctly, either due to valvular stenosis or valvular insufficiency. Valvular disease can be congenital or acquired. Cardiovascular imaging can evaluate the severity and type of valvular disease. Medication may help, or valvular surgery can repair or replace dysfunctional valves.

In Our Own Words

Valve disease, also called valvular heart disease, affects the heart valves. Valves ensure that blood flows in one direction through the heart. Birth defects or serious infections may lead to damaged valves. Valves may narrow, or stenose, or they may become leaky, a condition known as insufficiency.

Special cardiovascular imaging can detect valvular problems and can help detect valve damage. Medications or surgery can help valvular disease.  Valves may be repaired or replaced, either with mechanical or tissue valves. Tissue valves are also known as biologic or bioprosthetic valves, made from human or animal tissue.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of ankles, abdomen or feet
  • Chest discomfort (angina pectoris)
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