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Heart Valve Diseases

Also called: Valvular heart disease

Summary

Your heart has four valves. Normally, these valves open to let blood flow through or out of your heart, and then shut to keep it from flowing backward. But sometimes they don't work properly. If they don't, you could have

  • Regurgitation - when blood leaks back through the valve in the wrong direction
  • Mitral valve prolapse - when one of the valves, the mitral valve, has "floppy" flaps and doesn't close tightly. It's one of the most common heart valve conditions. Sometimes it causes regurgitation.
  • Stenosis - when the valve doesn't open enough and blocks blood flow

Valve problems can be present at birth or caused by infections, heart attacks, or heart disease or damage. The main sign of heart valve disease is an unusual heartbeat sound called a heart murmur. Your doctor can hear a heart murmur with a stethoscope. But many people have heart murmurs without having a problem. Heart tests can show if you have a heart valve disease. Some valve problems are minor and do not need treatment. Others might require medicine, medical procedures, or surgery to repair or replace the valve.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Diagnosis and Tests

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Heart Association)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • Easy-to-Read (American Heart Association) - PDF Also in
  • (American Heart Association)

Living With

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Society of Thoracic Surgeons) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in

Specifics

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Society of Thoracic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (UpToDate)
  • (Society of Thoracic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (BroadcastMed) - University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, 9/09/2013
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Broward Health Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 4/09/2014
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, 7/07/2014
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, 12/16/13
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Merriam, KS, 2/17/2009

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts