Imagine that the heart's chambers are like rooms in a house, and that the heart's valves are like doors leading into those rooms. The doors can malfunction because rooms enlarge, causing the door hinges to spread apart, or because the doors themselves are damaged. Similarly, the heart can be damaged for a variety of reasons and its chambers can enlarge, preventing the valves from closing on their "hinges", or diseases such as rheumatic fever, infection or age-related changes can damage the valves. The most commonly acquired heart valve diseases are mitral regurgitation, which is leakiness of the mitral valve, and aortic stenosis, which is narrowing of the aortic valve. When severe, both conditions can require open heart surgery, although cardiologists can now perform minimally invasive procedures to fix these valves in appropriate patients.
Robert C. Bianco, MD
- interventional cardiology
Location and Office HoursRobert C Bianco MD
14 Office Park Dr Ste 1
Palm Coast, FL 32137
- BlueCross Blue Shield of Florida
- BlueCross BlueShield
- Florida Health Care Plans
- United Healthcare
- Florida Hospital Flagler
- Halifax Medical Center
- Memorial Hospital Miramar
- Memorial Hospital of Tampa
What causes acquired heart valve disease?
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What can happen if advanced heart valve disease is not treated?
SCAI answeredWhile certain minor heart valve problems may not require treatment, it is critical that advanced heart valve disease be treated. If it is not treated, it can lead to serious health problems:
- Heart failure. This condition describes when the heart can no longer pump blood the way it should, because it cannot fill with enough blood or it lacks the pumping power to send blood to the rest of the body. Symptoms of heart failure include fatigue; reduced appetite; dry, hacking cough, often worse when lying down; shortness of breath, especially at night; fainting; and weight gain and or swelling of the feet, ankles and abdomen.
- Stroke. During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either by a blood clot or by a break in a vessel carrying blood to the brain, resulting in brain damage or death.
- Blood clots. When blood forms a clot, it clumps as it hardens from a liquid to a solid. Blood clots can restrict or block the flow of blood to tissues, resulting in tissue damage or death.
- Death due to sudden cardiac arrest. When the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly, it is called cardiac arrest. Death usually occurs if sudden cardiac arrest is not treated within minutes.
How common is heart failure?
Discovery Health answered
Each year, more than 1 million patients are admitted to hospitals because of heart failure.
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