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Heart Valve Disease

Your heart has four valves that keep blood flowing in the correct direction. In some cases, one or more of the valves don't open or close properly. This can disrupt blood flow from your heart to your body and cause symptoms.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of heart valve disease – tiredness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting and chest pain – your cardiologist may recommend that you undergo an evaluation by a team of multidisciplinary experts from the Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute Heart Valve Program.

This patient-centered heart valve program allows patients to meet with a geriatrician, cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, and team of specialized nurses all in the same visit. The program is specifically designed to deliver the best possible patient care and convenience while ensuring that multiple specialists can easily work together simultaneously.

Upon being referred into the program, you will undergo a complete physical evaluation and several tests. The Summa Health heart valve team will then discuss your test results and – taking into account your surgical risk – determine the best treatment option to get you back to enjoying life. 

The most common heart valve disease treatment options include:

  • Open-Heart Valve Surgery
    Some patients may be candidates for traditional open-heart valve surgery, whether it be surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) or a mitral valve replacement.
  • Non-Invasive Valve Surgery (trans catheter procedures)
    The majority of Summa Health patients with aortic stenosis are candidates for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which offers a faster recovery than SAVR. Mitral clip, another minimally invasive surgical approach, also may be a preferred strategy over surgical mitral valve replacement for some patients.
  • Medical Management
    There are currently no medications that can cure or delay the progression of heart valve disease. Typically, medical management of patients who are unable to undergo surgery focuses on making them feel more comfortable, as well as on reducing cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and obesity. These medications may include statins, beta blockers or anti-hypertensive treatments.

The choice of treatment will depend on a variety of factors including the severity of your condition and any other medical problems you may have, your level of function and mobility, and you and your family's wishes.

If you wish to be first evaluated by a Summa Health cardiologist for possible referral into the program, talk to your doctor. A physician referral is needed to be seen in the Summa Health Heart Valve Program.

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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.