Related Tests & Procedures
- Heart Valve Repair / Replacement
- Mitral Valve Repair / Replacement
Damaged valves fail to open and close properly, forcing your heart to work harder. Over long periods of time, the extra effort this puts your heart through weakens the heart muscle, causing heart valve disease to develop. This can cause heart rate problems, heart rhythm problems, and other complications.
The most common types of valve problems are:
- Insufficiency. The valves do not close properly, causing a backflow of blood.
- Stenosis. Thickened tissue surrounds the valve opening, limiting how much blood is able to pass through.
- Prolapse. Mitral valve leaflets, also called flaps, protrude into the left atrium as the heart contracts. This causes blood to flow backwards into the heart.
Some are born with a valve defect; this is called a congenital valve defect. Others diagnosed with this have had their valves damaged by coronary artery disease or by various illnesses like rheumatic fever. Your heart valves may also wear out and weaken with age.