Good news: recovery statistics are very good for people who receive proper treatment.
Some people live long and full lives with mild valvular problems and never require surgery. But once a heart valve begins to affect the heart’s ability to pump blood, it is likely to require a repair or replacement.
Treatment for valve disease will include a plan to:
- Protect your heart from further damage.
- Assess your need for medication to help manage symptoms.
- Repair the valve problem if needed.
- Communicate steps for management, self-care and the importance of follow-up care.
Generally, once it's determined that a diseased heart valve needs treatment, the available choices are valve repair or valve replacement:
- Valve repair — which preserves the patient’s valve and leaflets. Sometimes repairs require a minimal surgery procedure and other times repairs need a more extensive surgery. Repair is most often possible for mitral valve regurgitation and tricuspid valve regurgitation.
- Valve replacement — which may include TAVR (or TAVI) or other minimally invasive procedure. In many cases, the best long-term solution may require a more involved surgery such as the Ross procedure or the insertion of a new tissue or manufactured valve.
Understanding your heart valve problem: Which solution may be right for you?
Walk through a step-by-step interactive guide explaining your valve issue and treatment options with helpful videos, text summaries and links along the way.
Print our handy pre-surgery checklist: Facing and Recovering from Major Surgery | Spanish
Patient guide: Understanding Your Heart Valve Problem | Spanish
This content was last reviewed May 2016.