Your heart has four valves that keep blood flowing in the correct direction. The valves open and close once during each heartbeat. Sometimes, the valves don't open or close properly, disrupting the blood flow through your heart to your body. In a condition called stenosis, a valve isn't able to open properly. In a condition called regurgitation, a valve doesn't close properly and can leak.
Heart valve disease includes:
Your heart valve disease treatment depends on the valve affected and the type and severity of the valve disease. Sometimes heart valve disease requires heart valve surgery.
Why choose Mayo Clinic for heart valve disease
- Expertise. Mayo Clinic is one of the largest medical centers in the United States for heart valve disease treatment. Mayo physicians treat or diagnose about 4,000 patients annually for heart valve disease. Heart surgeons perform hundreds of surgeries each year to repair or replace heart valves.
- Specialized teamwork. A team of doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists), heart surgeons and other heart valve disease specialists provides you with integrated, coordinated care.
- Efficient care. In Mayo Clinic's system, your cardiologist and treatment team will examine you, diagnose your condition and develop your treatment plan promptly.
- Cutting-edge medicine. Mayo Clinic heart surgeons have been instrumental in developing innovative surgical techniques to treat heart valve disease. When possible, surgeons use minimally invasive heart surgery, which involves the use of smaller incisions.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for heart and heart surgery.
Related book: Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life! book provides an easy-to-follow plan to prevent and conquer heart disease.
Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.
Experienced Mayo specialists in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Mayo Clinic in Arizona coordinate the diagnosis and treatment of adults who have heart valve disease.
For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.
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Specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiovascular diseases, heart transplant and the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program treat adults who have heart valve surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.
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The Mayo Heart Valve Disease Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota uses a team approach to diagnose and treat people who have heart valve disease. Doctors with training in heart valve disease work with heart rhythm specialists (electrophysiologists), heart surgeons and other specialists to coordinate your care. Mayo Clinic is one of the largest and most experienced medical centers in the United States for heart valve disease treatment.
Your examination, diagnosis and patient education may be able to be completed within a day or two. If surgery is necessary, a cardiac surgeon meets with you to discuss your options. In most cases, surgery can be performed the following day. Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeons perform more than 1,400 heart valve surgeries each year.
For appointments or more information, call Cardiology and Vascular Medicine at 507-284-3994 or the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at 507-255-2000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form. No physician referral is necessary. Cardiologists generally can see most patients within two weeks after their appointment requests, and often cardiologists can see patients within a week or less after the appointment request. Patients with urgent issues can usually be seen within 24 hours after their requests. In emergencies, patients are directly transferred to inpatient hospital care.
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Specialists in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery treat children who have heart valve disease at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Pediatric heart surgeons perform heart valve repair when possible, often using minimally invasive techniques. Children needing hospitalization receive care at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.
See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.
Mayo Clinic doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists), heart surgeons and other specialists in heart valve disease work together to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Your treatment team evaluates you, performs tests, determines your diagnosis, discusses your test results with you and develops your treatment plan within a few days.
Heart valve disease treatment depends on the type of heart valve disease and the severity of your condition.
Treatment may include:
- Monitoring. If tests reveal a mild to moderate condition and you aren't experiencing any symptoms, your doctor may suggest regular medical checkups to monitor your condition for any changes.
- Medication. Medications can't correct heart valve disease but may help reduce your heart's workload and regulate heart rhythms. Sometimes medications may slow or halt the progression of the heart valve disease.
- Balloon valvuloplasty. Your doctor may perform balloon valvuloplasty to treat a narrowed valve (stenosis). In this procedure your doctor inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) with a balloon in the tip into your arm or groin and guides it to your heart. Your doctor inserts the balloon in the valve and inflates the balloon to open or stretch the valve. The balloon is then deflated and removed. You may need additional procedures over time to treat the narrowed valve.
- Surgery. If you have serious or advanced heart valve disease, you may need heart valve surgery. Mayo Clinic heart surgeons perform hundreds of surgeries each year to repair or replace heart valves. When possible, surgeons repair heart valves instead of replacing valves. Surgeons may perform minimally invasive heart surgery, which involves the use of smaller incisions than incisions used in standard surgery.
- Follow-up. You should have regular follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your heart valve disease. Your doctor will watch for any changes in your heart valve. Close monitoring will help your doctor determine when heart valve repair or replacement is needed, before irreversible damage occurs.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic actively study diagnostic tests and leading-edge treatment options for people who have heart valve disease. Mayo Clinic doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists) and surgeons have a long history in heart valve disease research. Learn more about research on the research website.
Read more about current research in heart valve surgery in the Cardiovascular Update.
See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on heart valve disease on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.
Feb. 06, 2014
- Heart valves explained. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Heart-Valves-Explained_UCM_305656_Article.jsp. Accessed July 15, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed July 15, 2013.