Heart Valve Disease Definition and Prevalence

Heart Valve Disease Definition and Prevalence


>>>José L. Zamorano, MD: The heart is receiving
the blood, and the heart itself has different chambers inside, so we have the atrium, this
is the upper part, the upper chambers. We have the left and right atrium, and we have
the ventricles. This is the left and the right ventricle. In between those chambers, in between
the left atrium and the left ventricle, we have valve, is like a door that communicates
those chambers. In fact there are four cardiac valves that are the pulmonary, the aortic
valve, the tricuspid valve, and the mitral valve. In a very simple way, the cardiac valves
are like doors that communicate with different chambers.
Valvular heart disease is a specific condition that implies that the valves are not really
working, not really functioning in a proper way.
There are two different possibilities. One is that the valve is not, the door is not
open properly just think like a normal door. So this is what we call stenosis. So a valve
is stenotic, when it is not opening in a correct way, but also it can be that the valve, the
door, is opening in an excellent way, but the problem is that it is not closing. So
if it is not closing then is what we call insufficiency or regurgitation.
So it could be for a chamber in the aortic valve, it is the aortic valve, it could be
an aortic stenosis, the aortic valve is not opening, or it could be that the aortic valve
is not closing that is called aortic insufficiency. Is it prevalent? Well, since the population
is getting older and older, and there are more elderly people, we have much more cases
of what we call aortic stenosis, so aortic valve disease is getting really prevalent
in our society. Why is this? Because while you are getting older, there is also a degeneration,
a degenerative process of the valve. The valve is getting heavily calcified, and therefore
is not opening in a proper way. So aortic stenosis is now getting one of the most common
conditions in the developed countries. How to diagnose that? Well, there are certain
symptoms that are different according to the different valves and according to the different
condition is not the same the symptoms for aortic stenosis and for mitral stenosis or
for mitral stenosis to mitral regurgitation, mitral insufficiency. How to diagnose that?
Well, usually when you have a valve disease, your doctor is what is saying, well, I can
hear your murmur. Well, the murmur is simply the noise that is making the blood while passing
through this valve that is diseased. Well, after your clinical interview, how to diagnose
that is really with echocardiography. Echocardiography and ultrasound is the cornerstone of the diagnosis
of valvular disease.

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