Heart valve disease, a possible hidden danger

February 02, 2024

Heart valve disease, a possible hidden danger

The heart consists of 4 chambers with the valves opening and closing to let blood pass through between the upper and the lower chambers in one direction, and not backwards. The 4 heart valves include the following: mitral valve, located between the left atrium and the left ventricle; tricuspid valve, located between the right atrium and the right ventricle; pulmonary valve, located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery; aortic valve, located between the left ventricle and the aorta.

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the heart valves do not open or close properly.  This causes the heart muscles to work harder to pump blood for the body’s requirement. This can result in heart failure and death.

How many types of heart valve diseases are there?

Heart valve diseases can be put into two main types according to the symptoms:
  • Stenosis, or narrowing of the valve, making it difficult for blood to flow through the heart valves
  • Regurgitation, or leakage of the valve, when the valve(s) do not close completely, causing blood to flow backward through the valve

Causes of heart valve diseases

Common causes of heart valve disease include:
  • Age-related degeneration of heart valves
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Infections such as rheumatic fever and Endocarditis from infection
  • Birth defects

What are the symptoms of heart valve diseases?

Heart valve diseases symptoms are similar to those of other heart diseases, for example,
  • Fatigue, tired when doing daily activities
  • Difficulty breathing while doing activities or lying down
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling in various organs such as the abdomen, legs, ankles, and feet
  • Cardiac arrhythmia such as fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever and body aches, if due to infection
  • In severe cases, too much fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness
What is the treatment for heart valve disease?

There are many ways to treat heart valve disease. Currently, Bumrungrad Hospital has the technology for heart valve replacement without surgery. It is a treatment option that is highly safe and has good results. Heart valve disease can be treated in the following ways.
  • Using medicine to relieve symptoms
  • Traditional open surgery for heart valve replacement
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), where an artificial heart valve is inserted through the vein to replace the old, damaged valve
  • TriClip, a procedure to repair the leaky tricuspid valves by delivering a clip system to the heart through the femoral vein in the leg, and clipping a portion of the leaflets of the tricuspid valve to reduce the backflow of blood
  • Mitral Valve Repair, a surgery to treat mitral valve disease by widening the valve opening or fixing the leak.
  • Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) is a procedure to treat severe mitral valve leakage with the device called the MitraClip. It is a treatment option for those with severe leakage who can’t undergo open heart surgery or those with high risk for surgery such as the elderly and those with comorbidities. The procedure can help improve the patient’s quality of life as it reduces the risk of death as well as the leaky heart valve symptoms, thus improving the overall health condition of those at high risk.

How to prevent heart valve diseases

Some risk factors may be unpreventable such as increasing age. But we all can follow these tips to reduce the risk of heart valve diseases:
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat nutritious foods from the five food groups.
  • Maintain healthy weight.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Take medicine as prescribed for hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
  • See a doctor immediately if you have an infection.
Bumrungrad Hospital provides a comprehensive range of treatment for all heart valve diseases. At work in our multidisciplinary team to provide holistic care and treatment for patients with heart valve diseases are cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, specialized pharmacists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation medicine specialists. Also provided are medications, preoperative care, and postoperative care to allow patients to return to a better life and a better quality of life.

For more information please contact:
(8.00-20.00 hrs. )

(20.00-8.00 hrs. )

[email protected]

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