Valvular Heart Disease

What is valvular heart disease?

Valvular heart disease occurs when one of the four heart valves (tricuspid, mitral, pulmonary, or aortic) is damaged.

  • The tricuspid and mitral valves are responsible for controlling the flow of blood between the heart and the atria
  • The aortic valve manages the blood flow between the heart and the aorta
  • The pulmonary valve controls the blood flow from the heart to the lungs

What are the causes of valvular heart disease?

Valvular heart disease may be a condition you are born with, but in many cases, it is acquired later in life. Some causes include:

  • Rheumatic fever: In untreated cases, the bacterial infection can result in valve damage
  • Bacterial endocarditis: Caused by bacteria that enters the bloodstream and settle within the lining of the heart causing inflammation and severe damage
  • Heart attack: Weakens and damages the muscles responsible for controlling the heart valves
  • Other conditions include tumour and systemic lupus

What are the symptoms of valvular heart disease?

In some cases of valvular heart disease, there may be no symptoms. However, in advanced cases, valvular heart disease can have devastating effects. The most frequently reported symptoms include:

  • Heart palpations/Irregular heartbeats
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of feet, ankles, and abdomen
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Fever

What are the risk factors of valvular heart disease?

  • Congenital heart disease (since at birth)
  • Past infections in the heart or past forms of heart disease or heart attack
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other heart disease risk factors
  • Older age

How is valvular heart disease diagnosed?

  • Physical examination
  • Echocardiogram
  • Angiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

What are the treatment options for valvular heart disease?

Treatment is based on the severity of your valvular heart disease. If it is very minor, you may require no treatment.

Treatment options include:

  • Medications to relieve swelling, abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure and other symptoms e.g., diuretics (water pills), blood thinners and antiarrhythmics
  • Heart valve surgery including heart valve repair and valve replacement

What are the prevention tips for valvular heart disease?

Lower your risk by leading a healthy lifestyle. Follow these simple tips:

  • Quit smoking
  • Get physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Manage your stress


  1. Valvular heart disease. Available at [Accessed on 29 April 2022]
  2. Valvular heart disease. Available at [Accessed on 29 April 2022]
  3. Heart valve disease. Available at [Accessed on 29 April 2022]
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