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The Heart Valve Center at the UT Health East Texas Cardiovascular Institute

Located in Tyler, this center was created to not only diagnose and treat heart valve disease, but also to raise awareness of a condition that is often overshadowed by other cardiovascular problems.

Heart valve disease

Heart valve disease is a life-threatening condition where one or more of the heart’s four valves fails to pump efficiently. Common causes are valvular insufficiency, also called leaky valve or vascular stenosis, where valves have become hardened and narrowed.

What causes it?

Heart valve disease can develop congenitally (while a baby is developing in the womb) or result from heart attack, hypertension, aortic aneurysm or infection. Some causes are still unknown.

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What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of heart valve disease can vary. Severe onset may cause sudden and intense symptoms. With gradual onset, it may take years for the symptoms to become pronounced. General symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath upon exertion
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Heart murmur
  • Heart palpitation
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet or abdomen

How is it treated?

If left untreated, heart valve disease can result in heart failure, severe infection and even death. No drug therapy exists for heart valve disease. The course of treatment depends on the type and severity, but treatment options include: