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Valvular Heart Disease Treated in Baltimore

Diagnosis of valvular heart disease is provided by cardiologists at The Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Our doctors pinpoint specific heart valve problems and evaluate care options in order to find the treatment that is best for each patient.

About Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease is an abnormality in any of the four valves of the heart.  Working like doors to open when the heart pumps blood, and close when it relaxes, these valves keep blood flowing in the proper direction. The four valves are named: tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic.

Valvular heart disease can be present at birth (congenital):

  • Valve doesn’t form properly
  • Can be part of a set of symptoms such as Marfan Syndrome

Sometimes valvular heart disease develops during the lifespan (acquired):

  • May be age-related: deposits or scars on valve
  • Infections like Rheumatic Fever
  • Damage due to heart attack, high blood pressure
  • Certain diseases such as Pupus or Fabry Disease
  • Side effect of radiation therapy of the chest area

There are three general types of heart valve problems:

  • Regurgitation - blood “leaks” backward instead of flowing ahead into the next chamber
  • Stenosis:  valve doesn’t open fully due to thickening, stiffness or attaching to nearby tissue
  • Atresia: valve has no opening

Specific conditions of heart valves are:

  • Aortic regurgitation
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Aortic sclerosis
  • Aortic valve disease
  • Bicuspid aortic disease
  • Congenital valve disease
  • Mitral regurgitation
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Mitral valve disease
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Pulmonic regurgitation
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Pulmonic valve disease
  • Tricuspid regurgitation
  • Tricuspid stenosis
  • Tricuspidvalve disease
Symptoms & Diagnosis

Many people with valvular heart disease have no symptoms or problems in their lifetime. A heart valve problem may be found during a routine physical exam. For others, valvular heart disease slowly worsens over time, often by middle or older age. Symptoms can vary depending on which valve is not working properly:

  • Heart murmur or unusual heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling in feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, neck veins
  • Dizziness, fainting

Basic tests will include:

Additional tests might include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Stress test
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
Treatment Options for Valvular Heart Disease
The goals of treatment are symptom relief, prevention of further damage to the heart valve and repair or replacement of the diseased valve, if necessary. There are no medications that can cure a diseased heart valve or stop it from leaking. Medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms and lower the risk of complications.
The Heart Center at Mercy specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease, offering a comprehensive approach to the management of heart-related conditions.