University of Minnesota Heart Care
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- University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
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Heart Valve Disorders
A problem valve may not open wide enough, not close tightly enough, or both. In any case, not enough blood gets sent out to the body. Men and women of any age can have heart valve trouble. You may have been born with a problem valve—that’s a congenital defect. Or, a valve may have worn out as you aged.
Stenosis --When a valve doesn’t open all the way, the condition is called stenosis. Blood has to flow through a narrower opening, and the heart muscle has to work harder to push the blood through the valve. Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aorta, the big blood vessel that carries blood to all the tissues of the body.
Regurgitation -- When a valve doesn’t close tightly enough, the problem is called regurgitation. The valve itself may be considered leaky. When a valve leaks, the heart has to move the blood twice.
Mitral valve repair is performed by cardiothoracic surgeons to treat stenosis or regurgitation. The mitral valve is the inflow valve for the left side of the heart.
- breathing problems
- angina, chest pain
- pressure or tightness in your chest
- feeling dizzy, faint or lightheaded
- tiredness, especially with activity
- waking up at night coughing or short of breath.