Symptoms of Heart Valve Problems

Updated:Sep 26,2016
What does it mean?
Symptoms diagram

How would I know if I am having symptoms of valve disease?

Some people have no symptoms. It’s important to know that some patients do not experience any symptoms, yet they can still have a valve problem that needs treatment.

Some people suddenly experience very noticeable symptoms. Valve disease symptoms can also develop very quickly if the condition is severe.

Symptom trackerSome people don’t notice slowly-developing symptoms that may point to a serious valve condition.

For some people, the disease progresses very slowly, and the heart is able to compensate over time so that the symptoms are barely noticeable.

However, the risk and damage may still be significant, so education and awareness about the possible causes for a gradual onset of symptoms is important for patients who may be at risk.

Download our Valve Disease Symptom Tracker (also available in Spanish) so that you can track your symptoms over time. A change in symptoms is important to discuss with your physician.

Some physical signs of heart valve disease can include:

  • Chest pain or palpitations (rapid rhythms or skips)
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty catching your breath, fatigue, weakness, or inability to maintain regular activity level
  • Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Swollen ankles, feet or abdomen

Symptoms do not necessarily determine the seriousness of a person’s valve problems.

A valve problem can be severe with no symptoms. A valve problem can also be insignificant in terms of leakage, but problematic because of the uncomfortable symptoms. It is important to tell your healthcare provider any time you notice new or irregular symptoms that may relate to your condition.

Hear from Allison, who shares her story of being diagnosed with a childhood heart murmur and eventually needing heart valve repair surgery. She blamed her noticeable fatigue on work. When she was told she needed surgery, she was scared but realized her life depended on it.

This content was last reviewed May 2016.

Heart Valve Problems and Disease

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Dr. Robert Bonow describes the symptoms that may alert you to heart valve disease.

Support Network: You're Not Alone

Our heart valve ambassadors are here for you