What is an abnormal heart valve?

Joseph E. Bavaria, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Abnormal heart valves are those that do not fully open or close during each heartbeat. The problem can be present at birth or due to other causes like an infection with rheumatic fever. Normal heart valves act like doors. They open and close at the right time to move the blood forward and keep it from going backward. If a valve doesn't open or close like it should, then the heart muscle has to pump harder. If the workload becomes too great, then heart failure results. Sometimes surgery is needed to replace or repair a heart valve. Other times, a catheter procedure is done to help open a tight valve.

Continue Learning about Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Your circulatory system is made up of your heart and three main types of blood vessels -- arteries, veins and capillaries. Your heart is at the center of the system, acting as a pump to distribute nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood t...

hrough your body; it then takes away carbon dioxide and other waste your body doesn't need. Signs of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, numbness, dizziness, migraines, varicose veins and pain in your feet or legs. Untreated, poor circulation can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney damage and other diseases. Learn more about your heart and circulatory system with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.