Types of Valve Conditions
Valve stenosis or narrowing is when the valve does not open fully, restricting or obstructing the flow of blood. It can put a strain on the heart, making it pump harder to push the blood past in the narrowing. Calcification (deposits of calcium) is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in older people
Leaking valves is when a valve fails to close properly and it allows blood to flow backwards. This is called valve incompetence or regurgitation or a leaky valve. The heart can be put under pressure as it has to work hard to pump the required volume of blood
Causes of Heart Valve Disease
- Congenital heart disease – a condition or defect that develops in the womb before the baby is born. The baby’s heart valves may not be properly formed or there may be holes between the chambers in the heart.
- Having had rheumatic fever
- Deposits of calcium (calcification) in parts of the valve
- Cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle which can run in families.
- Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack – commonly caused by coronary heart disease
- Growing older
- Previous infection with Endocarditis – a life threatening condition in which the inner lining of one of the heart valves becomes infected