The following information contains excerpts from the website cardiosmart.org which we recommend as a resource for more information regarding heart disease.
Heart valve disease is a condition in which one or more of your heart valves don't work properly. The heart has four valves: the tricuspid (tri-CUSS-pid), pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary), mitral (MI-trul), and aortic (ay-OR-tik) valves.
These valves have tissue flaps that open and close with each heartbeat. The flaps make sure blood flows in the right direction through your heart's four chambers and to the rest of your body. Birth defects, age-related changes, infections, or other conditions can cause one or more of your heart valves to not open fully or to let blood leak back into the heart chambers. This can make your heart work harder and affect its ability to pump blood.
Heart valves can have three basic kinds of problems:
Some causes and risk factors for heart valve disorders include:
A number of other conditions and factors are sometimes linked to heart valve disease. However, it's often unknown how these conditions actually cause heart valve disease.
The main sign of heart valve disease is an unusual heart sound called a heart murmur. Your doctor can hear a heart murmur with a stethoscope.
Other common signs and symptoms of heart valve disease relate to heart failure, which heart valve disease can eventually cause. These symptoms include:
Heart valve disease can cause chest pain that may only happen when you exert yourself. You also may notice a fluttering, racing, or irregular heartbeat. Some types of heart valve disease, such as aortic or mitral valve stenosis, can cause dizziness or fainting.