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Heart valve disorders

Aortic valve disease
The aortic valve is one of the valves of the heart. It lies between the left ventricle and the aorta. During ventricular systole, pressure rises in the left ventricle. When the pressure in the left ventricle rises above the pressure in the aorta, the aortic valve opens, allowing blood to exit the left ventricle into the aorta. An aortic valve disorder usually does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. As the problem progresses, it may produce shortness of breath, angina (chest pain), light-headedness, dizziness, and even fainting, especially upon exertion.
Aortic insufficiency
Aortic insufficiency (AI), also known as aortic regurgitation (AR), is the leaking of the aortic valve of the heart that causes blood to flow in the reverse direction during ventricular diastole, from the aorta into the left ventricle. The aortic valve separates the left ventricle of the heart (the heart's largest pumping chamber) from the aorta, the large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood out of the left ventricle to the rest of the body. In aortic valve insufficiency, the aortic valve becomes leaky, causing blood to flow backwards into the left ventricle.
Aortic aneurysm
Aortic aneurysms occur when a weakness develops in part of the wall of the aorta; three basic types are usually found. If all three layers of the vessel are affected and weakness develops along an extended area of the vessel, the weakened area will appear as a large, bulging region of blood vessel; this is called a fusiform aneurysm. If weakness develops between the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall, a bulge results as blood from the interior of the vessel is pushed around the damaged region in the wall and collects between these layers.
Aortic regurgitation
Bacterial or fungal infections of the valve may cause perforations (holes) in the cusps. Holes in valve leaflets most often cause acute valve regurgitation. Aortic dissection, caused by bleeding into the wall of the aorta, can expand the aortic valve and cause it to leak. A chest injury can also cause the aortic valve to leak. Chronic valve regurgitation is most often caused when the aorta near the valve slowly expands. The most common cause is high blood pressure. Medicines to improve the pumping action of the heart may be given to reduce the severity of the regurgitation.
Aortic stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis is a heart condition caused by narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve controls the direction of blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. When in good working order, the aortic valve does not impede the flow of blood between these two spaces. Under some circumstances, the aortic valve becomes narrower than normal, impeding the flow of blood. This is known as aortic valve stenosis, or aortic stenosis, often abbreviated as AS. When the aortic valve becomes stenotic, it causes a pressure gradient between the left ventricle (LV) and the aorta.
Aortic valve replacement surgery
Aortic valve replacement surgery is an "open heart" procedure performed by cardithoracic surgeons for treatment of narrowing (stenosis) or leakage (regurgitation) of the aortic valve. Replacement of the aortic valve requires open-heart surgery, in which the breast bone (sternum) is split down the middle, allowing access to the heart. The heart is stopped during critical parts of the operation and a special machine pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body. The diseased valve is removed and a new valve is sewn in.
Mitral valve disease
There are many diseases which affect the mitral valve and its supporting structures. The most common disorder of the mitral valve is the partial backflow of blood through the valve. Regurgitation is usually the result of valvular degeneration, which occurs most often in older members of the smaller dog breeds. In valvular degeneration, the leaflets or cusps which make up the valve, may have contracted and curled back on themselves. This allows the valve to leak. Valvular degeneration can also be a secondary result of an infection of the valve, or as a congenital malformation of the valve.
Mitral valve prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a heart valve condition marked by the displacement of an abnormally thickened mitral valve leaflet into the left atrium during systole. Prolapsed mitral valves are classified into several subtypes, based on leaflet thickness, concavity, and type of connection to the mitral annulus. Subtypes can be described as classic, nonclassic, symmetric, asymmetric, flail, or non-flail. Prolapse occurs when the mitral valve leaflets are displaced more than 2 mm above the mitral annulus high points.
Mitral valve regurgitation
Mitral valve regurgitation is also called "MR". MR happens when some of the blood in your heart leaks from the left ventricle into the left atrium. This causes health problems because the blood flows backward through the mitral valve instead of forward. Primary mitral regurgitation is due to any disease process that effects the mitral valve apparatus itself. The causes of primary mitral regurgitation include myxomatous degeneration of the mitral valve, ischemic heart disease, coronary artery disease, infective endocarditis, collagen vascular diseases, rheumatic heart disease, trauma, balloon valvulotomy of the mitral valve.
Mitral stenosis
Mitral valve stenosis is a narrowing of the opening of the mitral valve in the heart. The mitral valve is 1 of 4 valves in your heart. It is located between the upper left heart chamber and lower left heart chamber. Stenosis of the mitral valve prevents the valve from opening normally. A narrowed mitral valve reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your heart. Over time, the stenosis can cause high blood pressure in the left atrium and the lungs. Mitral stenosis is often caused by having had rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can cause an infection in the mitral valve.
Mitral valve repair and replacement
Mitral valve replacement surgery is used to replace a diseased mitral heart valve with a natural or artifical valve. Mitral valve replacement surgery is open-heart surgery that is done while the patient is under general anesthesia. Many mitral valves can be repaired, especially if they leak due to degenerative disease. A separate discussion of mitral valve repair will be available through this site. In many cases, however, the valve is too damaged to permit repair and the valve must be replaced with a prosthetic (artificial) valve. Valves damaged by rheumatic disease often must be replaced.
Pulmonic valve stenosis
Pulmonic stenosis is a relative narrowing of the valve from the right ventricle to the lungs. Initially, this congenital abnormality is usually silent - your doctor will not be able to hear anything abnormal even on careful examination. Eventually, a short ejection (crescendo-decrescendo) murmur will be heard in the area of the pulmonic valve, classically with a "click" which signifies the walls of the pulmonic valve snapping outward with each pumping stroke. Pulmonic stenosis is rarely cause for concern except for endocarditis prophylaxis.
Tricuspid regurgitation
Tricuspid regurgitation is a disorder involving backwards flow of blood across the tricuspid valve which separates the right ventricle from the right atrium. This occurs during contraction of the right ventricle and is caused by damage to the tricuspid heart valve or enlargement of the right ventricle. The tricuspid valve is between the right atrium and right ventricle in the heart. The valve opens when the atrium contracts to allow blood to flow into the ventricle. It closes when the ventricle contracts to prevent back flow of blood into the atrium.
Tricuspid stenosis
Tricuspid stenosis is the hardening and narrowing of the tricuspid valve, which regulates blood flow between the right atrium and the right ventricle. When this valve is narrowed, the volume of blood flow is reduced. Tricuspid valve stenosis is most often the result of rheumatic fever. On rare occasions, it is caused by a tumor or disease of the connective tissue. The rarest cause is a birth defect. A person with tricuspid valve stenosis may experience generalized weakness and fatigue. Many people have palpitations and can feel fluttering in their neck.
Heart valve replacement and repair
Heart valve replacement refers to procedures aimed at replacing your own heart valve, rather than repairing your own valve. If a surgeon cannot repair a heart valve, the valve is removed and replaced with an artificial (prosthetic) valve by sewing it into the remaining tissue from the natural valve. Throughout the world, 95% of all valve replacements are performed for mitral or aortic valves. The mitral valve is positioned in the heart´s left side, between the left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle).

Topics in heart disease and cardiovascular disorders

Coronary circulation disorders
Myocardium disorders
Heart valve disorders
Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
Heart inflammation and infection
Congenital heart disease
Valvular disease (blood vessels disorders)
Procedures done for coronary artery disease
Devices used in cardiology
Diagnostic tests and procedures for heart diseases
Heart transplant

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005