Heart Valve Disease

A faulty heart valve can progress gradually or suddenly. You may have no symptoms until it's an emergency. If you repeatedly feel lightheaded, or have shortness of breath or chest pain, see your doctor as soon as possible. Let us help with a fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. 

The heart is a pump made of muscle tissue. The heart has four pumping chambers: two upper chambers, called atria, and two lower chambers, called ventricles. To keep the blood flowing forward during its journey through the heart, there are valves between each of the heart's pumping chambers:

• Tricuspid valve: located between the right atrium and the right ventricle
• Pulmonary valve: located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery
• Mitral valve: located between the left atrium and the left ventricle
• Aortic valve: located between the left ventricle and the aorta

Conditions that may cause heart valve dysfunction are valve stenosis (stiffness) and valve regurgitation (leaky valve).

Treatments for Heart Valve Disease

The best treatment for your heart valve problem depends on which part of the valve is struggling. Our experts are experienced in a variety of minimally invasive steps. Ultimately, however, you may face a heart valve replacement.

Spectrum Health has a unique team that is the only one of its kind in West Michigan. Using the newest technology and high-tech materials, we are experienced in valve replacement techniques. This means that some people previously considered too high–risk or ineligible can now be considered.

Find out more about some of the treatments that may help you cope with a faulty heart valve here. Then, if you haven't already met our specialists, call for more information. We'd consider it a privilege to team up as a member of your care team for the long haul.

Balloon Valvuloplasty
This procedure uses a balloon on a thin tube to open the faulty valve. It may not cure the problem permanently, but it can relieve symptoms. This works well for aortic valve stenosis and to repair valves in children.

Medication Management
Along with very important lifestyle changes, there are a variety of medicines used to help treat heart conditions. Medicines for heart disease are used to ease discomfort or lessen symptoms, but some can also be essential in preventing life-threatening episodes. It is important to take your medicines exactly as prescribed, and work with your doctor on both lifestyle and medicine changes.

Surgical Valve Repair or Replacement
During this procedure a surgeon can repair or replace the mitral valve. This is generally performed as an endoscopic surgery with the assistance of a guided camera and precise tools.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
This minimally invasive procedure replaces a failing aortic valve using a catheter with a fully-functioning, artificial valve.