Valvular heart disease

Valvular heart valve disease is a condition in which one or more of your heart valves do not work properly. The heart has four valves: tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral, and aortic.

These valves have tissue flaps that open and close with each heartbeat. The flaps make sure blood flows in the right direction through your heart's four chambers and to the rest of your body.  Heart valves can have three basic kinds of problems:

Unstable angina

Angina pectoris is a symptom of chest pain or pressure that occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen to meet its needs. Unstable angina occurs in unexpected or unpredictable times, such as at rest. The symptoms may be new, prolonged, more severe, or occur with little or no exertion. Unstable angina may also be less responsive to nitroglycerin. Unstable angina symptoms are a medical emergency, and may be a precursor for a heart attack. Thus, medical attention should be sought immediately.


Tachycardia is a faster than normal heart rate. A healthy adult heart normally beats 60 to 100 times a minute when a person is at rest. If you have tachycardia, the heart rate is increased significantly. Symptoms of tachycardia include dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, rapid pulse rate, palpitations, chest pain, or fainting. In some instances, the cause of a tachycardia is benign and physiologic. Occasionally, the cause of a tachycardia may be due to abnormal electrical pathways in the heart and would require further studies, medications, or procedures.

Syncope (fainting)

Syncope is the abrupt and temporary loss of consciousness followed by a complete and rapid recovery. Syncope is most often benign. Vasovagal syncope is the most common cause of fainting and occurs when your body reacts to triggers such as heavy straining or emotional distress. In patients with risks for heart disease, additional cardiac testing is usually performed.


Stroke/Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; vision changes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache.

Rheumatic heart disease

Rheumatic heart disease may cause damage, inflammation and scarring of various parts of the heart including the lining of ther heart (pericardium), heart muscle (myocardium) and the heart valves that could occur during and following episodes of rheumatic fever from Goup A streptococcus.

Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and fail. Causes of pulmonary hypertension include pulmonary embolus, COPD, connective tissue disorders, sleep apnea, congenital heart disease, chronic liver disease, interstitial lung disease, left sided heart failure, or illicit drug use.

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is blockage in one or more arteries in your lungs. In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to your lungs from another part of your body — most commonly, your legs. Pulmonary embolism is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Common signs and symptoms include sudden and unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain and a blood-tinged cough. Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but immediate treatment with anti-clotting medications can greatly reduce the risk of complications or death.

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop PAD, your extremities — usually your legs — don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, notably leg pain when walking (claudication). Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your other arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.

Pericardial disease

Pericarditis is an inflammatory condition of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain. The sharp chest pain associated with pericarditis occurs when the inflamed or irritated two layers of the pericardium rub against each other. Causes of pericarditis include infections, autoimmune conditions, or following heart attacks or heart surgery. Mild cases may improve without treatment. Treatment for more-severe cases may include medications and, rarely, surgery.


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Dr. Rajen Chetty, M.D. F.R.C.P. (C) Cardiologist
250 Patillo Road, Tecumseh, ON | N8N 2L9 | 519-727-5500

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