Causes of Heart Valve Disease

The most common causes of heart valve disease are degenerative congenital defects and infections. However, age-related changes and certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, Graves' disease, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, have also been associated with heart valve disease.

Congenital Defects and Heart Valve Disease

Congenital defects are most often associated with aortic or pulmonary valve disease. In patients with congenital defects, the heart valves may be the wrong size or the leaflets of the valve are misshapen or not properly attached. In bicuspid aortic valve disease, the valve has only two leaflets instead of the normal three.

Types of congenital defects associated with heart valve disease include:

Infections and Heart Valve Disease

Two types of infections are commonly associated with heart valve disease, rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis. In these cases, heart valve disease occurs when the infection travels to the heart and damages the inner surface, which includes the heart valves.

Other Conditions

Heart valve disease can also be caused by age-related disorders, such as an increase in calcium or other deposits in the heart, or other conditions and risk factors.

Conditions and risk factors sometimes related to heart valve disease include: