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Valve Disease

Heart valve disease is when one or more of your heart valves do not work properly.

The heart contains valves that work much like one-way doors. They allow blood to move in one direction from one heart chamber to the next. There are four valves in your heart that move blood forward between other heart structures:

  • Mitral valve: between the left atrium and left ventricle.
  • Aortic valve: between the left ventricle and aorta.
  • Tricuspid valve: between the right atrium and the right ventricle.
  • Pulmonic valve: between the right ventricle and the lungs.

Basically, valves are made up of two or three thin, flexible pieces of tissue called "leaflets" that work together to shut the valve "door" each time the heart pumps blood from one chamber to the next, without allowing it to flow backward.

Risk Factors

  • Untreated Strep Throat
  • Rheumatic Fever
  • Congential Heart Disorders
  • Advancing Age

Medical Management

  • Medications
  • Diet Changes
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Activity/Exercise


Heart Valve Surgery (Repair & Replacement): Operations involve either repairing or replacing the abnormal valves. Aortic valve disease is most commonly treated by valve replacement. The mitral and tricuspid valves are commonly repaired when appropriate. Valve replacement may involve the use of a mechanic or animal (cow) tissue valve. Both types of valves have advantages and disadvantages and the choice is tailored to individual patients. The type of valve used or the potential repair of a valve will be discussed prior to surgery.