Valve Surgery

Valve Surgery

Heart valve disease causes the normal blood flow through the heart to be disrupted. This can affect your health and keep you from being able to enjoy the activities you love.

Heart valves can develop one or both of the following problems:

  • The valve opening becomes narrow (stenotic), restricting the amount of blood that can be pumped to the rest of the body.

  • The valve does not close completely (valve insufficiency or regurgitation) where the blood can flow backward instead of only forward. Backward blood flow makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. This also causes a buildup of back pressure in your heart and lungs.


Heart valve disease can be present at birth (congenital), be acquired during your lifetime, or be the result of an infection. Acquired heart valve disease is the most common. Sometimes the cause is unknown, but it involves changes in the structure of your heart valves as a result of mineral deposits on the valve or surrounding tissue. Infective heart valve disease causes changes to your valves because of diseases, such as rheumatic fever or infections.


There are a number of symptoms that may indicate heart valve disease, including:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty catching your breath, especially after you have been active or when you lie down flat in bed.

  • Feeling dizzy or too weak to perform your normal activities.

  • A feeling of pressure or weight in your chest, especially when you are active or when you go out into cold air.

  • A feeling that your heart is beating irregularly, skipping beats, or flip-flopping in your chest (heart palpitations).

  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, or abdomen, or rapid or unexplained weight gain.

  • A feeling of fatigue or lethargy, or an inability to do normal day-to-day activities.

Symptoms can range from mild to none at all and do not always indicate the seriousness of heart valve disease.