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About CARE Hospitals

With 14 hospitals spread across 6 cities, CARE Hospitals is a regional leader in tertiary care. It is ranked among the top 5 pan-Indian hospital chains and is driven by the core principle ‘to provide care that people trust’ through cost-effective medical care in more than 30 specialties.

Understanding Role of Heart Valves

The human heart is a sturdy but very sensitively designed structure. It has four chambers - the two upper chambers or the atria and the two lower chambers or the ventricles. The direction of blood flow through these chambers is controlled by the four valves. The mitral valve and tricuspid valve separate the upper and lower chambers of the heart and the aortic and pulmonic valves separate the ventricles and the blood vessels leaving the heart. These valves are made up of leaflets or thin flaps of tissue. The tricuspid and mitral valves have two leaflets and the pulmonic and aortic valves have three leaflets. They keep the blood flow unidirectional and do not let the blood flow backwards.

Heart Valve Disease

Heart valve disease is a condition in which one or more of the heart valves fail to function properly. This means that one or more of these valves do not open or stay closed and the direction of blood flow in the heart may be disrupted or may no longer be unidirectional (thus causing backward leakages). There may be different types of heart valve diseases such as -

  • Valvular stenosis - Hardening or constriction of heart valves making it difficult for the blood to flow through these. This adds pressure on the heart to maintain blood flow and could cause heart failure.
  • Valvular insufficiency - Inefficient working of the heart valve leading to "leaks" or backward blood flow. This may result in deficient blood flow to the other parts of the body.

What Causes Heart Valve Disease?

Heart valve disease can be congenital or can be acquired later. In many cases, however, the cause of the heart valve disease is not known.

Congenital heart valve disease is a condition when the aortic or pulmonic valves are misshapen, of incorrect size, or have incorrectly attached leaflets. In some cases, the aortic valve may have two instead of three leaflets causing it to malfunction.

Acquired valve disease may develop after exposure to bacterial infections such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis. It may also develop as a result of other conditions that affect the heart such as hypertension, aortic aneurysms, cardiomyopathy, or coronary artery disease. Use of drugs or exposure to radiation may also cause heart valve disease.

Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease

A person suffering from heart valve disease may go many years without experiencing any specific symptoms. Many of the symptoms mentioned below may come up in or after middle age –

  • Shortness of breath – Difficulty catching your breath after mildly strenuous activity or while lying down
  • Dizzy spells/blackouts
  • Palpitations/tachycardia – Unusual palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pains/discomfort
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Swelling of ankles and feet – This happens due to fluid retention in these parts

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult an expert doctor at CARE Hospital.

Treatment of Heart Valve Dysfunction

The treatment plan for a diagnosed heart valve disease depends on the type and the severity of the valve compromised. A number of medicines such as ACE inhibitors, diuretics, vasodilators, and beta blockers may be used to treat the condition in its initial stages. Surgical valve repair or replacement is recommended if the valve disease may cause serious threats to the patient's health. The expert cardiac surgeons at CARE Hospitals will do a complete evaluation before planning a heart valve replacement/repair surgery.

Why CARE Hospitals?

CARE Hospitals is recognized as the most advanced, all-round health care centre in the country, powered by cross-functional teams comprising of surgeons, critical care and emergency medicine specialists. The founding team of CARE Hospitals comprises of medical innovators and pioneers who are passionately driven to make healthcare affordable for all, while ensuring clinical outcomes at par with international standards.

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