Conditions & Treatments
Heart Valve Conditions
Einstein Healthcare Network’s heart surgery team is among the area’s most experienced with heart valve conditions. Each year, we help thousands of patients, performing thousands of procedures, with an emphasis on innovative and minimally invasive techniques. From initial diagnosis through surgery and cardiac rehabilitation, we will help get you back to the life you love.
Heart valve conditions occur when one or more of the valves that direct the flow of blood through the heart do not work properly. The heart has four heart valves. The mitral and tricuspid valves control blood flow between the atria (upper chambers) and the ventricles (lower chambers). The aortic and pulmonary valves control the flow of blood out of the ventricles.
Think of a valve as a doorway with three flaps that open and snap shut to allow blood to flow into the heart, through the chambers and out to the body. Any structural problems – either weakening or stiffening of the leaflets in your heart valves – affect the heart’s ability to pump blood.
The cardiovascular team at Einstein offers compassionate, personalized care using industry-leading technology such as TAVR and MitraClip to treat your heart – and get you back on your feet.
Here are a few common valve conditions we see regularly:
If the leaflets in a valve become stiffened due to plaque buildup, the valve opening becomes smaller. This causes the heart to pump harder, straining the heart to push blood through the arteries. Over time, the heart muscle weakens under the stress.
When the leaflets in a valve weaken, they won’t snap completely shut. This causes blood to leak backward instead of flow forward. For example, in mitral valve prolapse, blood that should flow into the left atrium (upper chamber) leaks back into the left ventricle (lower chamber). Regurgitation can cause an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain.
Congenital diseases occur before birth. Typically, defects include having two leaflets instead of three or an abnormal valve size. The increased strain on the heart may cause stenosis (narrowing of the valve) or regurgitation (a leaky valve).
Einstein’s heart surgery team is highly experienced with complex valve surgeries, including:
- Double and Triple Valve (Multi-Valve) Surgery
- Combined Valve and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
- Combine Valve and Aneurysm Surgery
- Valve Sparing and Valve Repair Surgery
- Redo (Complex Second and Third Time) Valve Surgery
This surgery can be used to replace the aortic (transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR) or mitral (transcatheter mitral valve replacement, or TMVR) valves, and is sometimes referred to as transcatheter valve-in-valve replacement.
The benefits of this surgery include:
- Minimally invasive
- Avoids a sternotomy (dividing the sternum to access the heart)
- Smaller incision
- Reduced risk of infection
- Less postoperative pain
- Shortened recovery time
- Immediate results
The MitraClip is another catheter-based procedure used to treat valvular regurgitation. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a clothespin-like metal clip using catheter through a vein in the groin and guides it to the heart. The clip is used to fasten the two flaps of the valve together in the middle, tightening the opening and reducing regurgitation.
Einstein’s surgical team will discuss your options with you and recommend a personalized treatment plan to ensure the best outcomes. In some cases, we may be able to use minimally invasive techniques to restore valve function. In other cases, your surgeon may recommend open heart surgery.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are experiencing any of the conditions above, make some time to meet with one of our board certified surgeons. We'll do our best to get you back to the life you love with minimal disruption.
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