Valvular Stenosis (Heart Valve Disease)
Valvular stenosis, also called heart valve disease or narrowed valve, occurs when there is narrowing, stiffening, thickening, fusion or blockage of one or more valves of your heart. As a result, the defective valve may make your heart work very hard to pump blood through it. Valvular stenosis may occur in any of the four valves of your heart: the aortic valve, the mitral valve, the tricuspid valve or the pulmonic valve.
Valvular stenosis can lead to heart failure, among other heart conditions. Your heart valve disease may be congenital, or it may be acquired after birth due to other medical conditions (rheumatic fever is one example). Mild valvular stenosis may not show any symptoms, but as the stenosis worsens, symptoms of heart failure may develop. It may first appear to your doctor as a heart murmur, and tests such as electrocardiogram (EKG), chest x-ray and echocardiogram may be used to diagnose your valve disease.
What are the signs of valvular stenosis?
Again, while some mild heart valve stenosis may not show symptoms, more serious stenosis may cause some of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath in the middle of the night while lying down
- Chest pain
- Swelling (edema) of the legs, ankles or other parts of the body
- Dizziness and fainting
- Heavy coughing, sometimes with blood-tinged sputum
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the lips, skin and other areas of the body)
- Multiple heart failure symptoms