Caring for the hearts of Central Texas Since 1971

(254) 399-5400

Caring for the Hearts of Central Texas Since 1971 (254) 399-5400

Heart Valve Disease

Heart valve disease affects the valves that make sure blood flows correctly through the heart and to the rest of the body. What causes heart valve disease? The heart has four valves that open and close with each heartbeat, helping to regulate how blood moves through the heart. A valve problem can be caused by birth defects, age-related changes, infections, or other conditions. Three kinds of problems can affect heart valves: Regurgitation – Backflow of blood that occurs if a valve doesn’t close tightly enough. Instead of flowing forward through the heart or into an artery, blood leaks backward into the heart chamber. This is usually caused by prolapse, which occurs when the flaps of the valve bulge back into the heart chamber. This is sometimes referred to as “leaky valve.” Stenosis – Thickening or stiffening of a valve that prevents it from fully opening to let blood flow through. Atresia – A birth defect that occurs when a valve forms without an opening for blood to flow through. What are the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease? The main sign of heart valve disease is a heart murmur—an unusual sound during a heartbeat that can be detected when your cardiologist listens to your heart with a stethoscope. Some people with heart valve disease don’t experience any symptoms until later in life after the disease has progressed. Symptoms may include: Fatigue Shortness of breath Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs or abdomen How is heart valve disease diagnosed? Your doctor may hear a heart murmur when listening to your heartbeat with a stethoscope. To diagnose heart valve disease, your doctor will give you a physical exam and one or more of the following tests: Cardiac catheterization Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Chest X-ray Echocardiography Electrocardiogram (EKG) Stress test How is heart valve disease treated? Treatment varies depending on the specific type of valve disease you have and which specific valve is affected. Lifestyle changes and medicine can help manage the symptoms of a heart valve problem. Improving your diet, lowering your blood pressure, quitting smoking, and limiting strenuous exercise could help. Your doctor might prescribe medication to treat heart failure, lower your blood pressure, prevent irregular heartbeats, or thin your blood to prevent clots. In some cases, a valve may need to be repaired or replaced with surgery. These surgeries can include:   Balloon valvuloplasty Valve replacement Transcatheter aortic valve repair The Ross operation

Our Central Texas Locations

Call (254) 399-5400 for Appointments

Waco Cardiology Associates
7125 New Sanger Avenue, Ste. A
Waco, TX 76712
Clifton Medical Clinic
201 Posey Ave
Clifton, Texas 76634
Coryell Specialty Clinic
1507 W Main St.
Gatesville, Texas 76528
Family Practice Rural Health Clinic
303 North Brown
Hamilton, Texas 76531
Hill Regional Hospital
1323 East Franklin Street, Suite 103
Hillsboro, Texas 76645
Parkview Rural Health Clinic
514 S. Bonham, Suite B
Mexia, Texas 76667
Lake Whitney Physicians Clinic
202 East Jefferson
Whitney, Texas 76692
Limestone Family Medicine Center
701 McClintic Drive
Groesbeck, Texas 76642