Valvular Heart Disease Treated in Baltimore

The Heart Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Diagnosis of valvular heart disease is one of the specialties of the cardiologists a The Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Our doctors can identify specific heart valve problems and assist in evaluating care options in order to find the treatment that is best for you.

About the Condition

Valvular heart disease is an abnormality in any of the four valves of the heart.  Working like doors to open when the heart pumps blood, and close when it relaxes, these valves keep blood flowing in the proper direction. The four valves are named: tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic.

Valvular heart disease can be present at birth (congenital):

  • Valve doesn’t form properly
  • Can be part of a set of symptoms such as Marfan Syndrome

Sometimes valvular heart disease develops during the lifespan (acquired):

  • May be age-related: deposits or scars on valve
  • Infections like Rheumatic Fever
  • Damage due to heart attack, high blood pressure
  • Certain diseases such as Pupus or Fabry Disease
  • Side effect of radiation therapy of the chest area

There are three general types of heart valve problems:

  • Regurgitation - blood “leaks” backward instead of flowing ahead into the next chamber
  • Stenosis:  valve doesn’t open fully due to thickening, stiffness or attaching to nearby tissue
  • Atresia: valve has no opening

 Specific conditions of heart valves are:

  • Aortic regurgitation
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Aortic sclerosis
  • Aortic valve disease
  • Bicuspid aortic disease
  • Congenital valve disease
  • Mitral regurgitation
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Mitral valve disease
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Pulmonic regurgitation
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Pulmonic valve disease
  • Tricuspid regurgitation
  • Tricuspid stenosis
  • Tricuspidvalve disease
NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Many people with valvular heart disease have no symptoms or problems in their lifetime. A heart valve problem may be found during a routine physical exam. For others, valvular heart disease slowly worsens over time, often by middle or older age. Symptoms can vary depending on which valve is not working properly:

  • Heart murmur or unusual heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling in feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, neck veins
  • Dizziness, fainting

Basic tests will include:

  • Physical exam and medical history
  • EKG
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray

Additional tests might include:

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

The goals of treatment are symptom relief, prevention of further damage to the heart valve and repair or replacement of the diseased valve, if necessary. There are no medications that can cure a diseased heart valve or stop it from leaking. Medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms and lower the risk of complications.

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