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Learn about heart valve disease, including what it is, who it affects, what the risk factors are, and the options for heart valve disease treatment.

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 disease occurs when the valves in the heart do not work properly. Heart valve problems can 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

Who Does It Affect and What Are the Risk Factors?

Older age is a risk factor for heart valve disease. As you age, your heart valves thicken and become stiffer. Also, people are living longer now than in the past. As a result, heart valve disease has become an increasing problem.

People who have a history of infective endocarditis (IE), rheumatic fever, heart attack, or heart failure ­– or previous heart valve disease – also are at higher risk for heart valve disease. In addition, having risk factors for IE, such as intravenous drug use, increases the risk of heart valve disease.

You're also at higher risk for heart valve disease if you have risk factors for coronary heart disease. These risk factors include high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, insulin resistance, diabetes, overweight or obesity, lack of physical activity, and a family history of early heart disease.

Some people are born with an aortic valve that has two flaps instead of three. Sometimes an aortic valve may have three flaps, but two flaps are fused together and act as one flap. This is called a bicuspid or bicommissural aortic valve. People who have this congenital condition are more likely to develop aortic heart valve disease​.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Why The Heart Hospital?

The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano is proud to feature one of the nation's busiest heart valve disease treatment programs. Our team approach to caring for valve disease has resulted in some of the nation's highest patient satisfaction scores and quality outcomes which exceed national averages for both aortic valve disease and mitral valve disease​ treatment.

Surgeons on the medical staff at The Heart Valve Center of Texas are some of the same surgeons who perform the largest volume of valve surgery in the state of Texas at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

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.

Through our valve clinics, our guests receive a full evaluation and treatment plan. This includes imaging studies and lab work, as well as all the other testing and consultations with our heart team required in order to schedule a procedure, if recommended. Guests visiting our dedicated aortic and mitral valve clinics have their case simultaneously reviewed by multiple cardiovascular specialists on The Hospital Baylor Plano medical staff, including:

  • Cardiovascular surgeons
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Noninvasive cardiologists
  • Cardiac imaging specialists

We always strive to take the least invasive approach necessary to correct valve problems in an effort to reduce complications, limit scarring, and shorten the length of stay in the hospital and total recovery time.

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