Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care – Types of Heart and Vascular Disease - New York

Heart valve disease is typically the result of a degenerative disease, congenital defect or a serious infection such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis. When a heart valve is diseased, it affects the heart's ability to move blood efficiently through the body. There are two types of heart valve disease:

  • Valvular regurgitation
  • Valvular stenosis

Valvular Regurgitation

Valvular regurgitation, or "leaky valve," occurs when a heart valve doesn't close properly. This causes blood to leak back through the heart valve into the chambers rather than flowing forward through the heart or into an artery. When this happens, the heart has to work harder and less blood may flow through the body. Regurgitation is most prevalent in the mitral heart valve, although it can also occur in the aortic, pulmonary and tricuspid heart valves. Individuals at high risk for valve regurgitation include those who have a history of valve prolapse or stenosis, have had a past heart attack, use ergotamine or other migraine medications, have certain congenital birth defects, or have had rheumatic fever or endocarditis.

Montefiore's Heart Valve Repair Program offers a full range of treatments for valvular regurgitation, including:

Valvular Stenosis

Valvular stenosis occurs when the leaflets of a heart valve become stiff or fuse together and prevent it from opening fully. This condition causes the heart to work harder than normal and may lead to heart failure, heart attack or other cardiac conditions. Stenosis can occur in all four heart valves. Risk factors for valve stenosis include age, a history of rheumatic fever or endocarditis, and gender. Diabetes and Marfan syndrome can also cause stenosis in the mitral valve.

Montefiore's Heart Valve Repair Program offers a full range of treatments for valvular stenosis, including: