Heart Valve abnormalities
There are four valves located in the heart- the aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary. These control the blood flow between the different chambers of the heart, the lungs and the rest of the body and ensure that blood flows in the right direction, preventing blood from flowing backwards.
In valvular heart disease, one or more of the heart valves do not work properly. This results in the heart working harder to pump blood forwards, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and leg swelling.
The most common diseases which affect the heart valves are aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation.
In aortic valve stenosis, the aortic valve becomes narrowed, restricting flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta. Open heart surgery with an aortic valve replacement and the key-hole procedure TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) offer definitive treatment options for this condition as they both involve the insertion of a new aortic valve.
Mitral regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve does not close properly, resulting in blood flowing backwards from the left ventricle into the left atrium. Treatment options for this condition include open heart surgery with mitral valve repair or replacement and, in suitable patients, Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER); this is a minimally invasive procedure which involves placing a clip on the mitral valve leaflets to reduce the amount of regurgitation (thereby repairing the mitral valve without the need for open heart surgery).