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Heart Valve Disease

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valves work in conjunction with the four chambers of your heart to keep oxygen-rich blood flowing in the right direction through your heart, lungs and other areas of the body. The term “heart valve disease” describes two common conditions:

  • Stenosis, in which the heart valve doesn’t fully open because of build-up of cholesterol or calcium on the leaflets of the aortic valve
  • Regurgitation, in which the valve doesn’t close tightly, allowing blood to leak backward across the valve

Your heart is working harder than it should if you have either type of valve disease. Heart valve disease can develop before birth or at any age because of infection or exposure to other diseases.

Among the heart's four valves, the aortic valve is more likely to develop stenosis. The physicians and staff at the Valve Clinic at Parkview Heart Institute work with your primary care physician to determine the seriousness of your valve disease and recommend treatment for you.

To schedule an appointment with cardiology, please call 260-352-5381.

How do you diagnose heart valve disease?

As a patient of the Valve Clinic at Parkview Heart Institute, you will meet with a cardiologist and a cardiovascular surgeon in one convenient visit. The care team will discuss your symptoms, medical history and risk factors and perform a physical exam.

Diagnostic tests may also be ordered to help identify appropriate treatment, including an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), echocardiogram (echo), or cardiac catheterization.

How is heart valve disease treated?

Mild cases of heart valve disease may not cause problems, but more serious cases will weaken the heart and can lead to heart failure. Treatment with medicine can help relieve symptoms, but it will not fix the valve. You may choose to have the valve replaced or repaired.

How can you care for yourself when you have heart valve disease?
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. For example, eat more fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods. Limit sodium, sugar, and alcohol.
  • Be active. Ask your doctor what type and level of exercise is safe for you. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Lose weight if you need to.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can cause more heart problems. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Manage other health problems. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drug use, talk to your doctor.
  • Avoid infections such as COVID-19, colds, and the flu. Get a pneumococcal vaccine. If you have had one before, ask your doctor if you need another dose. Get a flu vaccine every year. Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Take care of your teeth and gums. Get regular dental checkups. Good dental health is important because bacteria can spread from infected teeth and gums to the heart valves.
  • If you have had a valve repaired or replaced, you may need to take antibiotics before you have certain dental or surgical procedures.

Meet our team

Our dedicated team at the Valve Clinic is here to offer you advanced cardiovascular care.

Learn more about our clinic and experts

Valve Clinic appointments and referrals

Find information about how to be referred to the Valve Clinic and what to expect as a new patient.

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