Valvular Heart Disease Baytown
More than 5 million Americans have valvular heart disease, which can cause heart attacks, arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, and other heart disease ó significantly impacting quality of life and even leading to death.
There are four chambers in our heart, and the exit of each chamber has flaps that act as a one-way valve or “check valve”. The heart valves are designed to open and shut to ensure blood flow in a forward direction.
Normal heart valves open fully to allow blood to flow in a forward direction through the heart and close tightly to prevent blood from flowing backward. Valvular heart disease is any condition that disrupts the proper function of the valve.
There are two general types of valve disease:
- If the valve valves stiffens and narrows over time, it does not open properly, and restricts the forward flow. This is called stenosis.
- If the valve fails to close properly, blood leaks and backflows into the heart. This is called regurgitation or insufficiency.
In either case, oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood supply to the body is reduced resulting in symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness and fainting.
The most common cause for valve disease is age. As a person gets older, their valves degenerate and thicken. They will not open properly ñ at least not in the same way as they did when the patient was younger.
But there are other causes too. Rheumatic fever, endocarditis, enlarged heart muscles, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, aortic aneurysms and heart tumors are all causes of valve disease.
Patients who may be suffering from valve disease may experience the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations or abnormal heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or pressure in the chest area while exercising
- Rapid weight gain or swelling
To diagnose valvular heart disease, Dr. Sami, a board certified cardiologist in Baytown, will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart. If he identifies a murmur or an irregular heartbeat, the next step is to listen to the lungs to identify fluid buildup.
Additional tests may include:
- Standard blood tests such as kidney function, electrolytes, and thyroid function – Done at on-site Laboratory Services
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – Records heartís electrical activity
- Echocardiogram – Ultrasound of the heart. Used to see visualize the cardiac valves and measure function of the heart, known as ejection fraction
- Exercise Treadmill Stress Test – To evaluate for coronary artery disease as an underlying cause of patients symptoms, when clinical picture is not very clear
- Nuclear Stress Test
- Cardiac Catheterization or Coronary Angiogram – Coronary artery disease is frequently found in aortic stenosis. Coronary angiogram is performed routinely prior to a major heart valve surgery or procedure.
Valvular Heart disease diagnosis maybe scary for many patients. The good news is that most valvular heart disease can be successfully treated in patients of all ages.
Here at Houston Cardiovascular Institute, we provide the highest quality patient care through patient education, advocacy and collaboration with other specialists in Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, and various hospital systems in Houston TX.
If the valve disease is severe enough, Dr. Sami will refer the patient for valve surgery – such as the repairing of the mitral valves or aortic valves.
If the valves are not repairable, valve replacement heart surgery is the next option. For instance, mechanical valves or stented animal-tissue valves may be put in the heart to ensure it can return to normal function.
The good news is that the percentage of aortic valve procedures that are performed with catheters has increased over the past few years. Depending on the patientís condition, Dr. Sami will decide whether a patient is a candidate for catheter-based valve replacement or repair. This option results in reduced recovery time and ICU stay.
Contact Us Today:
If ANY of above risk factors apply to you or a loved one, or you have been diagnosed with a heart murmur or valvular heart disease, make an appointment for an evaluation and screening with Dr. Sami.
Our main office is located at 6051 Garth Road, Suite 300, Baytown, TX 77521. Or you may contact us at 281-839-7949 to set up an appointment.