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What is Valvular Heart Disease?

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What is Valvular Heart Disease?

Our heart is a non-stop blood pumping machine. The blood heart pumps supplies the required nutrients to our entire body and collects metabolic wastes. The heart has four chambers, each of these chambers are separated by a valve. These valves allow one-way flow of blood, thereby restricting reverse the blood from one chamber to the other. These valves might be performing a- simple task, but is very crucial. Now, we do not want pure blood to be mixed with impure blood, which could be fatal.

These valves are susceptible to disease/damage. Causes of the damage/disease are dealt with in detail hereunder. The treatment for the heart valves exists and depends on the type and severity of the valve disease/damage. Treatment for heart valve disease/damage requires surgery to repair or replace the valve.

What is the Heart?

The heart is a powerful muscular and pumping organ which pumps blood from the heart to the body via the circulatory system (Heart (cardiovascular), lungs (pulmonary), arteries, veins, coronary and portal vessels). It is located to the left of the middle of your chest, and it is about the size of your fist.

The heart is a powerful muscular and pumping organ which pumps blood from the heart to the body via the circulatory system (Heart (cardiovascular), lungs (pulmonary), arteries, veins, coronary and portal vessels). It is located to the left of the middle of your chest, and it is about the size of your fist.

The human heart consists of 4 chambers in which blood flows.

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

The right side heart has two chambers, right atrium and right ventricle, and the same left side heart has two chambers – left atrium & left ventricle. Human heart also contains valves which help blood from flowing back into the heart chambers after contraction.

Atrioventricular valves found between the atrium and ventricle of each side of the heart (mitral and aortic)

Semilunar valves are located in the arteries leaving the heart to prevent blood from flowing back into the ventricles (pulmonary and tricuspid).

There are 2 sounds associated with the heart are the lub and the dub

LUB sounds produced when the ventricles contract and the atrioventricular valves close.

DUB is produced when the semilunar valves close, therefore preventing blood from flowing back into the ventricles.

Valvular heart disease: What it is?

Valvular heart disease describes by damage or a defect in one of the four heart valves: the mitral, aortic, tricuspid or pulmonary. Valvular heart disease can be caused by valvular stenosis (Aortic valve stenosis or aortic stenosis occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, which prevents the valve from opening fully, this reduces or blocks the blood flow from your heart into the main artery to your body (aorta) and to the rest of your body) or valvular insufficiency (Leaky valve).

What are the symptoms of Valvular heart disease?

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

The patient may be asymptomatic in initial stages and may have just a subtle reduction in effort tolerance. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitation
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the body especially feet
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy and sometimes blackouts and dizziness/giddiness.

What Causes Heart Valve Disease?

The main causes of heart valve disease are:

  • Born with an abnormal valve or congenital heart diseases
  • Having rheumatic fever
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart attack which damages your heart muscle
  • getting older
  • With Endocarditis infection

What are the Risk factors of Valvular Heart Disease?

Many factors can increase your risk of heart valve disease, including:

  • Getting older
  • History of heart disease or certain infections that can affect the heart
  • History of heart attack
  • Heart disease risk factors like High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes etc
  • Heart conditions present at birth (congenital heart disease)

How is Heart Valvular Disease Diagnosed?

When you come to us for suspected valve disease, the following test is recommended. The doctor first listens to our heartbeat and then order one or more imaging tests. Tests may include:

  • Echocardiogram, electrocardiogram
  • CT scan
  • Cardiac catheterisation
  • Chest X-ray
  • MRI
  • Stress test

What are the Types of Artificial Valvular Heart Used for Treatment?

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

There are essentially two types of valves:

Tissue Valves

These valves made from the tissues derived from the pigs and cows.

Advantage: They do not need life-long blood thinning tablets
Disadvantage: Their life is limited, and usually a tissue valve lasts from 10 to 15 years.

Mechanical Valve

Advantage: It is made of a special kind of metal and has the advantage of being long-lasting.
Disadvantage: Mechanical valve is that blood clots tend to form on them, and therefore one has to take blood-thinning tablets for lifetime.

What is the Treatment of Valvular Heart Disease?

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

Diagnosis is done by seeing the overall health and by seeing specific diagnostic test reports. There is different based on the conditions, but in general, we have two different treatment options they are medical and surgical treatment:

Medical Treatment:For minor valve changes, you may need occasional checkups, and possibly medication. For more severe disease, you should plan for surgery. These all are very different medical conditions; there is no one regimen it works for everyone. But in general, what we are trying to do with medical therapy is to optimise the cardiac physiology so that we can stop the condition from worsening or progression. Common drugs are:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium chemical blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilators
  • Antiarrhythmic medications

Surgical Treatments:

Balloon valvuloplasty (Heart valve repair):

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

It is a similar way to the cardiac catheterisation they use a long, thin tube (catheter) to repair the valve which is narrow opening. In this procedure, a doctor inserts a catheter with a balloon on the tip into an artery from your arm or groin that guides it to the valve, then the balloon inflates and expands the opening of the valve. The balloon is then deflated, and the catheter and balloon are removed.

Open heart surgery (Heart valve replacement):

What is Valvular Heart Disease?

In some cases, the valve cannot be repaired; we have to replace the valve. In this process, your doctors remove the damaged valve and replace it with a mechanical valve (Made up of metal) or a valve made from biological tissue valves like cow pig or human heart tissue.


As discussed earlier, the heart is a crucial part and form the epicentre of a human body’s existence. It is like a battery to our human body. The heart is the only body part that doesn’t slow down or rest, for to rest means the end of life.

Defects of the heart valves or chambers are mostly acquired, while some are inherited. Inherited defects cannot be prevented, but acquired defects can. Proper diet, exercise, periodic consultations with a specialist, inculcating good habits, refraining from smoking and drinking and usage of drugs and tobacco, etc..can increase the life of the heart.

Treatment options to treat heart valves are available, but nothing compares to the functioning of a heart without a defect. Prevention is better than cure. So, take care of the heart and the heart shall take care of you in living a complete life.

About Sunshine Hospitals:

Sunshine Hospitals, Bhubaneswar is an ultramodern 125-bed, tertiary care hospital located in the heart of Bhubaneswar. Established in the year 2015 with a mission to provide quality healthcare services to the people of Odisha. Sunshine’s patient-first approach steers it steadily in the direction of ensuring that state-of-the-art technology meets state-of-the–heart services to produce positive patient outcomes.

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