Heart Valve Disease

Ask your doctor

The following questions can help you talk to your doctor about your heart valve disease and good self-care. Print out or write down these questions and take them to your appointment. Taking notes or bringing someone with you can help you remember your doctor’s response when you get home.

Questions about your overall condition

  1. Why does my heart valve need to be replaced? Why don’t you repair it instead?
  2. What type of surgery is it safe for me to have with my heart valve disease?
  3. I would prefer less invasive treatment so I can be back on my feet more quickly. Why can’t I have TAVR instead of open-heart surgery?
  4. If I have a heart valve replacement, should I get a mechanical valve or one made from animal tissue?
  5. How can I expect to feel if my treatment is a success?
  6. Do I have to take medication? For how long?
  7. What will happen if I don’t receive treatment for my heart valve disease?
  8. If my heart valve problem is not serious, what do we need to do to monitor it over time?
  9. What symptoms should I watch that may indicate that my heart valve disease is getting worse?
  10. What conditions or symptoms should trigger an immediate phone call to my doctor?
  11. If I have a heart valve problem, do I need to take antibiotics before my teeth are cleaned?

Questions about echocardiogram

  1. What can an echocardiogram tell us about my heart?
  2. What happens next if the echocardiogram reveals a potential problem?

Questions about transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

  1. What can a TEE tell us about my heart?
  2. What are the possible benefits for me if I have a TEE test?
  3. Do I need to have an empty stomach before the procedure?
  4. Should I withhold any of my medications?
  5. Are there any medications that I will need to take?
  6. What happens next if TEE reveals a potential problem?
  7. What are my individual risks associated with having a TEE test?