Valve disease can be caused by a number of factors and each valve may be affected differently. Some valve disease may be due to infection, rheumatic fever, heart attack, coronary artery disease or other causes. Common valve diseases include:
- Aortic valve regurgitation (or aortic valve insufficiency) — The aortic valve helps pump blood from the left ventricle to the aorta. Aortic valve regurgitation, also called insufficiency, occurs when the aortic valve doesn’t close properly and blood flows back into the left ventricle. This makes the heart work harder and can lead to enlargement of the left ventricle. Not all leakages require treatment.
- Aortic valve stenosis — The aortic valve narrows, making it harder for blood to flow through to the aorta. This can lead to higher pressure in the left ventricle, making the muscle work harder and eventually thicken. It can, in some cases, be treated with the minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure.
We provide the widest range of options for aortic valve treatment. Whether your heart valve is repaired or replaced depends on many factors and both approaches can be highly successful. Our surgeons have the skill and expertise to repair heart valves when others may only be able to recommend valve replacement. In addition, we have experience in performing complex, combined procedures, including multi-valve surgery and combined valve and coronary bypass procedures.
If your valvular disease is less severe, we may prescribe medications such as diuretics and blood thinners to reduce blood pressure, remove excess fluid from the blood and lessen your heart’s work. We use evidence-based, long-term monitoring to watch your condition for any changes.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
TAVR offers patients with aortic valve disease a minimally invasive alternative to open heart surgery. Minimally invasive surgery generally involves less pain and a shorter recovery time. This is an excellent option for patients with an active lifestyle, the elderly and those who have already had a heart valve procedure. Learn more about TAVR.
This transcatheter procedure uses a balloon to open or widen the problem valve to restore normal blood flow in patients. During the procedure, the physician inserts a balloon via a catheter through a vein in the patient’s leg to the problem valve in the patient’s heart. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to open or widen the valve and restore normal blood flow. A valvuloplasty can be used for aortic stenosis, as well as narrowed tricuspid or pulmonary valves.
Traditional (Open) Valve Surgery
Underlying medical conditions, multiple heart problems and other factors may mean you will do better with a traditional, open procedure for aortic valve repair or replacement.
Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement
Valve-sparing aortic root replacement aims to repair an aortic aneurysm or dissection — preserving the patient’s own aortic valve instead of implanting an artificial valve.