Heart valve disease

Every time your heart beats, the four valves of your heart open and close. When they don’t function properly, blood can flow backward (a condition called regurgitation) or become blocked (a condition called stenosis), causing the heart to work harder. More serious valve defects can cause chest pain, migraines, fatigue and dizziness, high blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.

Valvular heart conditions we treat

The highly skilled specialists at Edward-Elmhurst Health have helped improve the lives of patients with all types of heart valve disease, including:

  • Aortic valve stenosis – A narrowing of the aortic valve that blocks blood flow from the heart's lower left chamber. Causes of aortic valve stenosis include a congenital heart defect, calcium buildup on the valve, and rheumatic fever.
  • Mitral valve stenosis – A narrowing of the mitral valve that blocks blood from moving between the upper and lower left chambers of the heart. Like aortic stenosis, the most common risk factor is a history of rheumatic fever.
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis – A heart defect usually present at birth requiring surgical repair before a child has reached preschool age.
  • Mitral valve prolapse – An easily treatable condition that causes an improper closing of the valve that may leak; sometimes referred to as a heart murmur.
  • Hole in the heart – A defect in which a baby is born with a hole in the septum that separates the left and right sides of the heart.
  • Marfan syndrome – An inherited disorder that affects the heart, lungs, eyes, skeleton and blood vessels. Complications can affect the cardiovascular system and result in mitral valve prolapse or an enlarged aorta.
  • Angina – Also known as chest pain, angina can occur because of low blood flow and low levels of oxygen in the blood vessels. Angina does not permanently damage the heart muscle like a heart attack.

Find a specialist

Edward-Elmhurst offers the following options for treating valvular disease:

  • Medication
  • Balloon valvuloplasty – A non-surgical procedure that stretches the opening of the valve by inserting a balloon through a special catheter
  • Mitral clip – Is used for patients who aren’t candidates for open heart surgery. The clip is inserted through a catheter and used to clip the mitral valve leaflets together. Edward is one of a handful of hospitals to offer this technology in the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation.
  • Heart valve repair – This procedure, often performed on a minimally invasive basis, may use your own tissue to repair or remodel heart valves
  • Heart valve replacement – Surgery to replace damaged valves with a new mechanism, either human, animal or artificial
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – An innovative procedure for patients who aren’t candidates for open heart surgery

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

TAVR relies on advanced technology to treat patients who have severe aortic stenosis and aren’t candidates for open heart surgery. This minimally invasive procedure uses a catheter to insert a new valve within the diseased aortic valve, pushing the leaflets of the diseased valve aside and using them to secure the new valve in place.

Edward Hospital is one of a handful of hospitals in the Chicago area to offer this procedure, which has been shown to improve the quality of life for patients whose treatment options are limited.

Education and support for heart valve disease

Lifestyle modifications, including diet, fitness and smoking cessation, can improve your health and quality of life.

Learn about our resources for a Healthy Driven life.