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Heart Valve Diseases

Also called: Valvular heart disease 

Your heart has four valves. Normally, these valves open to let blood flow through or out of your heart, and then shut to keep it from flowing backward. But sometimes they don't work properly. What can happen?

  • Blood can leak back through the valve in the wrong direction, which is called regurgitation
  • One of the valves, the mitral valve, sometimes has "floppy" flaps and doesn't close tightly. This is called mitral valve prolapse, and it's one of the most common heart valve conditions. Sometimes it causes regurgitation
  • When the valve doesn't open enough, which blocks blood flow, it is called stenosis

Valve problems can be present at birth or caused by infections, heart attacks, or heart disease or damage. Some valve problems are minor and do not need treatment. Others might require medicine, medical procedures or surgery to repair or replace the valve.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute