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Heart Valve Disease

The heart has four pumping chambers. The upper two chambers are the right and left atria. The lower two chambers are the right and left ventricles. Blood is pumped through the chambers, aided by four heart valves. The valves open and close to let the blood flow in only one direction.
A defective heart valve is one that fails to fully open or close. A stenotic valve cannot open completely, so blood is pumped through a smaller-than-normal opening. Sometimes, a valve may not be able to close completely. This leads to regurgitation —blood leaking back through the valve when it should be closed.
recommended reading
These articles provide in-depth information and are written to help you make the best healthcare decisions for you and your loved ones.
Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Aortic Valve Stenosis
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Mitral Valve Stenosis

decision points
When dealing with an illness or health problem, you have to make decisions—when to call a doctor, which test to have, and what treatment to use. Decision Points are designed to help you learn about your choices and options, and to prepare you to work with your healthcare provider to make the best decision for your care.
Should I have surgery to replace my aortic valve?
Should I replace my aortic valve with a mechanical or tissue valve?
tests & procedures

You doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to evaluate your condition.

Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac Blood Pool Scan
Chest X-Ray
Electrocardiography (EKG, ECG)
Exercise Electrocardiography

For other tests and diagnostic procedures use the section of this site called Medical Tests A to Z.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
Heart Failure
Marfan’s Syndrome
Atrial Fibrillation
Change in Heartbeat
Chest Pain
Smoking Cessation
medication center
medication assistance

This section provides you with an alphabetical listing of more than 1,000 medications, including prescription drugs and those you can purchase over-the-counter. Just "click on" your medications to learn what they are used for, how to take them, special precautions, and some of the possible side effects. You can choose your medication by brand name or generic name.

Medications A-Z

If you are having difficulty paying for your medications you may qualify for financial assistance or free medications. Visit the Medication Assistance Center to learn about available medication and insurance programs.

Don't let financial problems stop you from getting the treatment you need; there are resources and organizations that may be able to help you.

additional resources

This listing provides you with Internet sites that are sponsored by government agencies or are well-known and credible national organizations.

American Heart Association
MEDLINEplus—Heart Valve Diseases
MEDLINEplus—Mitral Valve Prolapse
National Marfan Association
Valve Disease—Cleveland Clinic Heart Center

Surfing the Internet
When looking at Internet sites, remember that the information can be sponsored by anyone. Take into account the sponsoring group or individual when gathering information or help. Be especially careful about giving out personal or financial information.

Learn more about surfing the web:

Last modified on: 30 June 2015