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Understanding Heart Valve Disease

CardioSmart News

Heart valve disease includes a range of conditions that occur when any of the heart’s four valves don’t work properly.

Your heart's four valves are:

  • Aortic (ay-OR-tik) valve
  • Pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) valve
  • Mitral (MI-trul) valve
  • Tricuspid (tri-CUSS-pid) valve

Most heart valve problems involve the aortic and mitral valves.

Common problems include when a valve can’t open wide enough to let blood through (stenosis) or can’t close tightly enough to prevent blood from flowing back into the heart (regurgitation).

Some problems, such as aortic stenosis, usually develop later in life as people age. At the same time, people can be born with valve problems.

With heart valve disease, the heart must work harder and may not be able to pump enough blood out to the rest of the body. As a result, people can experience shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, dizziness, or swelling in ankles, feet, or belly.

If heart valve disease isn’t treated, it can get worse over time and lead to heart failure or even death.  

More information

Learn more about heart valve disease:

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