Memorial Puts Patients at Heart of New Valvular Heart Disease Center

valvular heart diseaseEach year, about 5 million Americans are diagnosed with valvular heart disease, which occurs when the heart valves do not open or close correctly as they allow blood to flow forward through the heart’s chambers. The two main types of valvular heart disease are called valvular stenosis (a too-narrow opening in the valve) and valvular regurgitation (a leaky valve), both of which can cause your heart to work harder.

Typically, this type of heart disease is caused by birth defects, calcium or plaque in the valve, degeneration, infection or IV drug use. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, tiredness, dizziness and/or fainting. Left untreated, valvular heart disease can lead to heart failure. Knowing the signs can help save your life and get you on the right path to the treatment you need sooner.

In some cases, symptoms from less serious forms of valvular heart disease can be managed with heart medications; however, patients sometimes require surgical interventions to repair or replace the faulty valve. Traditionally this requires open heart surgery, but a minimally invasive form of the procedure is available if the patient qualifies. Though minimally invasive heart valve surgery still is technically considered open heart surgery, the procedure is far less strenuous on the body and involves a much smaller surgical opening, resulting in easier and quicker healing.

When seeking surgical treatment for heart valve disease, look for facilities that can provide you with the education you need to prepare for and heal from heart valve surgery, onsite diagnostic testing, a well-trained nursing staff and access to world-class heart surgeons that specialize in the care you need.

Want to learn more?

Memorial Medical Center’s newly established Valvular Heart Disease Center brings a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients who require heart valve replacement or repair. This “one-stop shop” keeps the patient at the absolute center of care, as every specialty from the surgeon to dietary to rehabilitation is available to them through the center.