Aortic Valve Disease
Aortic valve disease is a common, yet serious, type of valve disease. Our cardiac specialists and cardiovascular surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating aortic valve disease, offering the most advanced valve surgery options and using the least invasive approaches whenever possible.
Through our personalized approach and treatment plans tailored to your specific condition and unique needs, you can expect to receive the highest level of care from our aortic valve disease experts.
Expertise Using TAVR to Treat Aortic Valve Disease
If a valve replacement is needed, our specialists use transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) — a catheter-based approach that replaces a damaged valve with a new one using a catheter and only a small incision.
Our cardiovascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists are leaders in performing TAVR. More than 70% of the aortic valve procedures performed by our specialists are by catheter rather than open surgery, which can help keep you out of the intensive care unit, improve your recovery time and reduce your hospital stay. In addition, we are the only hospital in the Houston area with a single, integrated TAVR team. The team has performed more than 2,000 TAVR device implantations, making Houston Methodist one of the most experienced TAVR sites in the nation.
Types of Aortic Valve Disease
The primary purpose of a heart valve is to keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. Aortic valve disease occurs when your aortic valve does not open or seal properly, which can place a strain on your heart.
There are two types of aortic valve disease:
Aortic stenosis, also known as aortic valve stenosis, is one of the most common and serious types of valve disease. It results from a narrowing of your aortic valve, which makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood out of your heart. This can cause your heart to gradually grow weaker — ultimately leading to heart failure and possibly death.
Aortic valve regurgitation occurs when your aortic valve does not close properly, allowing backflow of blood into your heart. This can cause your heart to have to work harder to pump blood. Aortic regurgitation can also occur with an enlarged aorta. Our heart valve specialists are experts in using surgical or catheter-based options to treat and manage an enlarged aorta.
About Aortic Valve Disease
Aortic valve disease is a common condition that, if untreated, can result in heart failure and even death.
The following factors can contribute to aortic valve disease:
- Thickening or stiffening of the valve due to calcium or scar tissue that builds up on the aortic valve over time
- Bicuspid valve disease, a heart defect present at birth that worsens over many decades of life
- Rheumatic fever, which results in valve scarring
- Infective endocarditis, a complication of heart valve infection
- High blood pressure, also called hypertension
Not all patients with aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation have apparent symptoms. When aortic valve disease is severe, the following symptoms may appear:
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Dizziness or fainting
- Palpitations, noticeable heartbeats or a heavy, pounding feeling in the chest
- Fatigue and lower activity levels than usual
Our doctors use several tests and procedures to diagnose aortic valve disease, including:
If you’re aortic valve disease is mild, your doctor will likely use routine monitoring, medications and lifestyle changes to treat your condition.
If you have severe aortic valve disease, treatment typically involves open surgery or catheter-based intervention to repair or replace the valve. We may recommend a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure, where a bioprosthetic valve is implanted using a catheter.
In addition, we’ve been selected to participate in several FDA-approved clinical trials to study the treatment of aortic stenosis by transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) leveraging the newest valve devices and implantation techniques.