Types of Heart Valve Disease

Common questions
Questions
to Ask

Bring this list of questions about heart valve disease to your next appointment with your doctor, and be sure to take notes during your conversation.

Glossary

Glossary

Find definitions of technical terms in our glossary.

Types of Heart Valve Disease

Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work the way they should. There are two types of heart valve disease: narrowing of the heart valve (resulting in what is often called a stenotic valve) and a leaky valve. Some patients may have both types of heart valve disease in one or more valves.

What happens during heart valve disease

Narrowed heart valve, or valvular stenosis

With this type of heart valve disease, the heart valve may be damaged by a bacterial infection or a hardening (calcification) near the valve opening. The valve opening is narrowed, which means that your heart has to work very hard to pump blood. This can lead to a number of symptoms including fatigue, weakness or shortness of breath and may eventually result in heart failure.

Leaky heart valve, or valvular insufficiency

A leaky heart valve does not close properly. If it fails to seal, some blood can leak backwards across the valve, which means the heart has to work harder and less blood may flow to the rest of your body. It is sometimes called an incompetent, insufficient or regurgitant valve.