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Valvular Heart Disease

  • What is Valvular Heart Disease?

    Valvular Heart Disease refers to the disease of the heart valves. Heart valves act like doors to control the blood flow between the different parts of the heart. Valvular Heart Disease affects one or more heart valves, which then become damaged and do not function properly. Different Valvular Heart Diseases involve different valves, and certain diseases can affect more than one valve.

    Valve diseases can consist of congenital abnormalities (present at birth), or they can be acquired later in life as a result of infections or degeneration.

    There are two major types of valvular heart disease:

    • Valvular Insufficiency, which it occurs when the valve does not close tightly enough
    • Valvular Stenosis, which occurs when the opening of the valve is smaller than normal
  • There are many causes that lead to Valvular Heart Disease:

    • Congenital (present at birth)
    • Degeneration of valve tissues with age
    • Drugs (migraine medications, diet pills) and radiation therapy (cancer treatment)
    • Heart Attack, Atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in arteries), and high blood pressure
    • Infections including Rheumatic Fever and Infective Endocarditis
  • Initially, you may not present any symptoms even if the damage to your affected valve is severe. However, the symptoms can progress to include:

    • Fainting
    • Fatigue
    • Irregular heart beats
    • Shortness of breath on exertion
    • Swollen ankles
  • Different treatments are available for different valvular heart diseases, depending on the valves involved and the severity of the damage. The treatments include:

    • Medication, though it is important that regular follow-up is maintained to prevent recurrence
    • Non-surgical intervention:
      1. Balloon Valvuloplasty is recommended for patients whose valves are narrowed. A tiny balloon catheter is directed to the target valve, which is inflated and deflated several times, until the valve opening is widened sufficiently.
    • Surgery may be needed when multiple valves are severely damaged and you may be referred to one of our interventional cardiologists or a cardiac surgeon:
      1. Valve Repairs result in fast recovery from surgery, very good survival rates and no need for life-long medical therapy, whilst maintaining your original valves
      2. Valve Replacement is usually performed for more complex cases and where the valves are severely damaged. This is a minimally invasive approach where the old valve is replaced with a new one.
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