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What is Heart Valve Disease?

Heart valve disease occurs when the valves in the heart do not work properly. Your heart has four valves: aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonary. Each of these valves is responsible for blood flow through your heart into different chambers. Heart valve problems include:

  • Regurgitation: blood flowing back into a heart chamber when the valve doesn't close properly
  • Stenosis: narrowing, thickening, or stiffening of the valve that doesn't allow enough blood to flow through
  • Atresia: lack of an opening for the blood to flow through

Just as some people are born with heart valve problems (congenital) and some people develop them later in life, heart valve disease may have no symptoms in some people while in others it may progress until symptoms develop. Heart valve disease may lead to serious heart and blood vessel disorders if left untreated, including heart failure, stroke, blood clots, or sudden cardiac arrest.

Although medications may be used to treat the symptoms of heart valve disease, they cannot cure it. The most effective treatments are the repair or replacement of malfunctioning valves. Valves can be either man-made (mechanical) or biological, usually from pigs (porcine), cows (bovine), or horses (equine).

The highly trained cardiac surgeons and interventionalists on our medical staff offer a complete range of traditional surgical heart valve procedures as well as minimally invasive surgical and catheter-based management of aortic and mitral valve disease. With comfort and care being a top priority, we try to take a minimally invasive approach to treating heart valve disorders first. This interventional approach means that one can often avoid a traditional surgical procedure. Interventional procedures usually result in less scarring, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery for most patients.

In addition to traditional (open heart) heart valve procedures, The Heart Valve Center of Texas offers evaluations and expertise for highly specialized procedures such as:

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which uses catheters guided through your arteries via a small needle puncture through an artery in the groin to replace a diseased aortic valve. This procedure is recommended for patients who may be considered high risk or inoperable for undergoing traditional open heart surgery. The Heart Valve Center of Texas also offers clinical trials for those who are at intermediate risk for open heart surgery.
  • Transcatheter mitral valve repair with MitraClip®, which is the insertion of a catheter through a small needle puncture through an artery in the groin to deliver a small clip that clips the leaflets of the leaking mitral valve together.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery for repair of a mitral valve that does not close properly.
  • Minimally invasive valve repair and replacement through small incisions called port access. This procedure avoids the traditional sternotomy, which is surgery through your breastbone.
  • Comprehensive evaluation for mitral valve repair.

In addition, via a process that begins with evaluation at The Heart Valve Center of Texas, these heart valve specialists also perform:

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD) closure (post-surgical or post-infarction)
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD) closure
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure
  • Valvuloplasty (aortic, mitral, pulmonic and tricuspid)
  • Paravalvular leak (PVL) closure
  • Left ventricular pseudo aneurysm closure
  • Valve-in-valve procedures for degenerated bioprosthetic valves in inoperable/high risk surgical patients
  • Transcatheter left atrial appendage exclusion
  • Clinical Research Study Opportunities

If you are in need of heart valve care and an evaluation of your condition, talk to your physician about a referral to The Heart Valve Center of Texas.​​​

MEET OUR HEART TEAM


  • Molly Szerlip, MD
    Medical Director, Inpatient/Outpatient
    Percutaneous Valve Services
  • William T. Brinkman, MD
  • David Brown, MD
  • Tim George, MD
  • Ambarish Gopal, MD
  • Deepika Gopal, MD
  • Paul Grayburn, MD
  • Srinivas Gunukula, MD
  • Katherine B. Harrington, MD
  • Kelley Hutcheson, MD
  • Michael Mack, MD
  • Srini Potluri, MD
  • William Ryan, MD
  • Sameh Sayfo, MD
  • Justin Schaffer, MD
  • Robert L. Smith, II, MD