The human heart has four valves, which act like doors in-between each chamber of the heart and support blood circulation. Valvular heart disease includes any condition that affects the structure or function of these valves. Satish Sivasankaran, MD, MRCP(UK), FACC, MBA, or Dr. Siva, at Sunshine Cardiovascular & Vein in New Port Richey, Florida, is an experienced cardiologist who offers advanced diagnostic testing and treatment for valvular heart disease. For compassionate care, call the office or book online today.
The four valves in your heart act like doors in-between each chamber. The top chambers of your heart are called the atrium and the bottom chambers the ventricle, each with a right and left side.
Impure blood reaches your right atrium through the superior and inferior vena cava. The tricuspid valve is the valve between your right atrium and right ventricle.
The pulmonic valve is the exit valve from your right ventricle to your lungs, which opens up to the pulmonary artery to send impure blood to your lungs for reoxygenation. The oxygenated blood travels back to your heart to the left atrium.
The mitral valve is the valve between your left atrium and left ventricle. Oxygenated blood leaves your heart from the left ventricle through the aortic valve, which opens to the aorta and takes oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.
There are many types of valvular disease. At Sunshine Cardiovascular & Vein, Dr. Siva diagnoses and manages:
Stenosis is a narrowing of your heart valve, which prevents blood from exiting the heart.
Aortic stenosis means there is a blockage in the exit valve of your heart, which may cause symptoms such as chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, heart failure, syncope, or loss of consciousness.
Regurgitation or leaking of the heart valve means blood is backflowing through the valve that’s supposed to be tightly shut.
When the top chambers of your heart contract, the valves between the atrium and ventricle open. These valves then shut when the bottom chambers of the heart contracts to let blood exit the heart, otherwise, blood will backflow into the atrial chamber.
Similarly, when the bottom chambers of the heart receive blood from the top chambers, the exit valves in the ventricle tightly close.
Incomplete closure of the valves leads to leakage or regurgitation. Leakage of the mitral valve is called mitral regurgitation, which may cause shortness of breath or heart failure in severe cases.
Mitral valve prolapse is a common condition where the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge into the left atrium like a parachute during the heart's contraction. Sometimes this leads to mitral valve regurgitation. This may run in families and maybe linked to connective tissue disease. Symptoms may include racing or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or fatigue. This can develop at any age. This is also called barlow's syndrome.
Treatment for valvular heart disease depends on the specific structural damage or malfunction. Dr. Siva refers you to cardiac specialist who perform procdures, such as:
TAVR is done at the hospital for patients with aortic stenosis; it takes about two to three hours. First, a catheter is inserted into your femoral (groin) artery and a stent-valve advanced through the catheter to your blocked aortic valve to open it up.
The puncture site in your leg is closed with a device and monitors you in the recovery area for 2-4 hours. You go home the next day.
Some patients require open-heart surgery to replace the malfunctioning valve. You may have a metal valve or a pig or cow valve replacement.
Metal valves are recommended for younger patients because they last longer. However, you need to be on blood thinners like Coumadin® (warfarin) for the rest of your life.
For older patients, cow or pig valves are used, which don’t require lifelong use of blood thinners. However, these valves degenerate after 10-15 years.
Patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation may need valve replacement surgery.
In some patients, a MitralClip is peforemed for treatment of mitral valve regurgitation. During the procedure, a clip is inserted through your femoral artery and attaches it to your mitral valve to keep it closed.
This procedure is performed at the hospital, which takes a few hours.
For expert care of valvular heart disease, contact Sunshine Cardiovascular & Vein by phone or online today.
We are located in 5340 Gulf Drive, Suite 101, New Port Richey, FL 34652. Call us to book your appointment today.
Aortic stent valve.
Mitral valve leakage seen on echo.
Mitral valve prolapse