Heart valve disease is a fairly common problem with the valves that keep your blood flowing in one direction through your heart. Medicines can help with the blood flow problems from a heart valve that isn’t working right, but sometimes that’s not enough. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you need to have your valve repaired or replaced.
Heart valve disease refers to any of several conditions that prevent one or more of the valves in your heart from working right. Left untreated, heart valve disease can cause your heart to work harder. This can reduce your quality of life and even become life-threatening. In many cases, your healthcare provider can do surgery or a minimally invasive procedure to repair or replace your heart valves, restoring normal function and allowing you to return to normal activities.
Coronary angiography is a test to find out if you have a blockage in a coronary artery. Your doctor will be concerned that you’re at risk of a heart attack if you have unstable angina, atypical chest pain, aortic stenosis, or unexplained heart failure. During coronary angiography, a contrast dye will be injected into your arteries through a catheter (thin, plastic tube), while your doctor watches how blood flows through your heart on an X-ray screen.This test is also known as a cardiac angiogram, catheter arteriography, or cardiac catheterization.
There are different types of heart valve disease, and it is possible for more than one valve to be affected.
With valvular stenosis, the tissues forming the valve leaflets become stiffer, narrowing the valve opening and reducing the amount of blood that can flow through it. Mild narrowing may not reduce the overall functioning of your heart. However, the valve can become so narrow (stenotic) that it reduces your heart’s function, makes your heart pump harder and puts it under strain. As a result, the rest of your body may not get enough blood flow.
Valvular insufficiency (or regurgitation, incompetence, "leaky valve"), happens when the leaflets don’t close completely, letting blood leak backward across the valve. This backward flow is referred to as “regurgitant flow.” Your heart has to pump harder to make up for this backward flow, and the rest of your body may get less blood flow.
You can get a backward flow if you have mitral valve prolapse, a common problem in which the valve flaps go back into your left atrium when your heart beats.
Valvular atresia happens when a heart valve doesn’t form correctly before birth. This is usually diagnosed very early in infancy.