The symptoms of vascular disease depend on which valve is affected. If the affected valve is on the left side of the heart (aortic or mitral valve), the most frequently seen symptoms are left-sided heart failure, difficulties breathing, a decrease in exercise tolerance, and the need to sleep with pillows, among others.
On the other hand, if the affected valve is located on the right side of the heart (pulmonary or tricuspid valve), the most common symptoms are right-sided heart failure, oedema in the legs, an enlarged liver, and an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, among others.
Who is affected by the disease?
Valvular disease can affect patients ranging from newborns (congenital conditions) to adults. Currently, the most commonly seen patients are those over seventy years old, since the most frequent causes of valvular disorders today are degeneration and/or calcification. The occurrence of this disease is evenly distributed between men and women.
In order to diagnose valvular disease, a complete medical history and physical examination are required. After these steps, however, the definitive diagnosis is reached by performing an echocardiogram. With this echocardiogram, we can both see the affected valve and carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the rest of the structures in the heart.
Medical treatment for this disorder is useful only to ease and improve symptoms; the definitive treatment would be to replace or repair the affected valve.
Valve replacement or repair is mostly done surgically. However, there is the possibility of performing a percutaneous treatment, a technique that is usually reserved for patients deemed too high-risk for invasive surgery.
The most commonly performed test in these patients is an echocardiogram, which can be transthoracic or transoesophageal. This test is useful to both diagnose and monitor this disease.
The prevention of this disease consists of avoiding cardiovascular risk factors, even though there is not a direct relationship between these and the presence or severity of valvular disease.
Related departments that treat this condition
Vascular disease is treated jointly by the Cardiac Surgery Department, Clinical Cardiology Department, the Echocardiogram Unit, and the Haemodynamics Unit.
Notable professionals at Vall d’Hebron who treat this condition
The entire Cardiac Surgery Department, the Haemodynamics Unit, and the Clinical Cardiology Department.