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Phoenix Cardiovascular Institute Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease, or heart valve disease, occurs when there is damage and/or defects in one (or more) of the heart’s four valves: mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary. The mitral and aortic valves are the valves most common to have valvular heart disease.

When a heart valve is damaged or malfunctioning, valves are unable to open or close fully due to becoming narrowed. With diseased valves, blood can begin to move backward and back up in the adjacent heart chamber or leak back into the chamber it just left. Because the heart is no longer functioning (or pumping) properly, the heart muscle itself will enlarge and thicken thus losing its elasticity, and its efficiency. A person with heart valve disease is at greater risk of developing a blood clot, having a stroke, or a pulmonary embolism.