What is heart valve disease?

With heart valve disease, one or more of the valves in your heart isn’t working properly. Valves keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart. A valve may not be opening or closing properly and disrupting blood flow to your body. Your heart has four valves: mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve.

Valve disease can be present at birth (congenital) or can develop over time due to other conditions.

Heart valve diseases can include

  • Stenosis – narrowed opening of the valve caused by thickening or stiffness in the tissue
  • Regurgitation – a bulging or prolapsed valve can allow blood to leak back into the heart
  • Atresia – a valve that is not properly formed

Many people do not have any symptoms with valve disease and live with the condition throughout their lives. In others, valve disease can worsen and cause symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Rapid, pounding or irregular heartbeat
  • Heart murmur
  • Difficulty with exercise

Talk to your doctor about any of these symptoms. You may be referred to a cardiologist for further testing.

How is valve disease diagnosed?

If you are experiencing a combination of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor about your concerns. You may be referred to a cardiology for testing including:

  • Echocardiogram (abbreviated as "echo") is the main test for diagnosing valve disease
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Exercise stress test
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

How is valve disease treated?

Valve disease symptoms be managed, but it cannot be cured. You and your family will take an active role in making lifestyle changes that will be important in managing the disease.

Treatments can include:

  • Medication
  • Repairing or replacing a faulty valve

We offer our patients minimally-invasive heart valve replacement for both the aortic and mitral valves. Learn more about Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Call Guthrie Heart Valve Clinic for a consultation and treatment plan, 570-887-2289.

Making heart healthy lifestyle changes can help any heart condition:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a heart healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Positively manage stress

Valve Disease Care at Guthrie

  • Guthrie Heart Valve Clinic: patients consult with our team of heart and valve specialists to determine the right treatment options to manage aortic stenosis. Cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and interventional radiologists work together with you to develop a treatment plan. Plans can include medicines as well as surgical treatments to repair or replace a valve. Call to schedule an appointment, 570-887-2289.
  • Guthrie Heart and Vascular Care Center, located in Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, is a state-of-the-art space for heart and vascular surgeries and procedures. Located near the emergency department and ICU, there are private patient rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and a hybrid operating room. The unit is centered around quick efficient care of our patients.
  • Hybrid operating room: the cardiac and vascular team can perform imaging studies in the sterile environment of the operating room. Patients do not need to move to another location in the hospital once a procedure has started. Additionally, having the ability to switch from minimally invasive to open procedures, if necessary, keeps the patient in the same room if the surgical team needs to change its approach. The cardiac team can diagnose as well as perform cardiovascular interventions in one room.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation programs in four locations: Guthrie Healthworks in Corning; Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital; Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Towanda Campus; and Troy Community Hospital.