Heart Valve Disease


Heart valve disease may be present with or without symptoms. If symptoms are present, they usually correlate to the severity of your condition but not always. Occasionally, you may have severe symptoms but have a minor valve problem, or you may have no symptoms and need prompt intervention. Some people live their entire lives with a heart valve problem and never know it.

It’s important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath (may occur during exercise, your daily routine, or even while lying in bed)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting or passing out (syncope)
  • Chest pain (may occur with exertion or exposure to the cold)
  • Heart palpitations (may feel like a rapid or irregular heartbeat or like your heart is flip-flopping)
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, or stomach (edema)
  • Sudden weight gain (such as an increase of 2 to 3 pounds in a day)
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and decreased appetite (due to an enlarged liver and congestion)

Before you visit your doctor about your symptoms, you should download and print out a list of questions to ask your doctor about heart valve disease as a reminder of what you want to ask and to take notes during your visit.