Causes of Heart Valve Disease - Ahmedabad Heart Hospital
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Causes of Heart Valve Disease

It is caused by the valve damage as a result of acute rheumatic fever related to Streptococcus infection in childhood or young adulthood. It affects the entire valve apparatus or any portion of it. It is present mostly in developing countries. It results in scarring, thickening, fusing, shortening and calcification of the valve tissues resulting in either a narrow / stenotic or a leaking / regurgitant valve or a combination of both. It is the commonest cause of valve disease in India.

In this type of valve disease the valve tissues are of poor quality and strength due to which the valve leaflets and valve structures get elongated and thinned. This results in valve dilation, elongated / thinned /ruptured / thickened or fused chordae, thin leaflets, unusual leaflet motion, leaflet prolapse into the atrium, leading to the “Floppy Valve Syndrome”. Degenerative diseases like Myxomatous degeneration, Barlow’s disease, Fibroelastic dysplasia exhibit such Mitral Valve dysfunction.

When the heart does not get an adequate supply of blood as in coronary artery disease or when it has suffered a myocardial infarction or “heart attack”, the damaged heart can dilate causing significant valve dysfunction. Even after the blood supply has been restored, unless these leaking valves are repaired the patient may continue to be symptomatic with breathlessness or swelling. Repair of the valves are a must for total comprehensive treatment and recovery.

An infection due to various causative pathologic organisms can destroy or “eat away” the heart valve and its surrounding tissues. This can have disastrous consequences in a patient who is already very sick with the infection. Antibiotics, the primary method of treatment, can sometimes fail to contain the infection. In such situations it is imperative to operate to save the patient’s life. Valve repair assumes tremendous significance in these situations as we can limit and keep to a minimum the amount of “foreign materials” like artificial heart valves which themselves can be prone to such infection. The infective tissues are excised and the valve can be reconstructed with the patient’s own tissues like pericardium.

Congenital valve disorders are due to faulty structural formation of the heart valves in the womb. They may be associated with other valve malformations or with “holes – in – the heart” like an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) or a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).