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Valvular Heart Disease

AorticStenosisThe heart has four cardiac chambers and four cardiac valves. Disease of these valves may lead to narrowing or leaking (regurgitation) of the valve. Common causes of problems with the heart valves include being born with abnormal valves (congenital), rheumatic fever, enlargement of the heart, infection (endocarditis) and ageing. As the population is living longer disease of ageing heart valves is now seen more commonly. Symptoms may include those of heart failure (breathlessness and swelling of the ankles) but also chest pain, dizziness or even loss of consciousness. Valve disease is usually detected by clinical examination and then confirmed but echocardiogram. Treatment may be medical therapy but then also assessment for heart valve surgery if the valve disease is severe. Newer minimal access procedures such as TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) and Minimal Access Mitral Valve Surgery are now available.

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