Valve disease

Synonyms: Valvular heart disease

Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Family practice, Surgery

Clinical Definition

Valve disease, or valvular heart disease, occurs when the cardiac valves (mitral, tricuspid, aortic, pulmonic) do not function correctly, either due to valvular stenosis or valvular insufficiency. Valvular disease can be congenital or acquired. Cardiovascular imaging can evaluate the severity and type of valvular disease. Medication may help, or valvular surgery can repair or replace dysfunctional valves.

In Our Own Words

Valve disease, also called valvular heart disease, affects the heart valves. Valves ensure that blood flows in one direction through the heart. Birth defects or serious infections may lead to damaged valves. Valves may narrow, or stenose, or they may become leaky, a condition known as insufficiency.


Special cardiovascular imaging can detect valvular problems and can help detect valve damage. Medications or surgery can help valvular disease.  Valves may be repaired or replaced, either with mechanical or tissue valves. Tissue valves are also known as biologic or bioprosthetic valves, made from human or animal tissue.

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Congenital
  • Acquired
Side Effects
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of ankles, abdomen or feet
  • Chest discomfort (angina pectoris)
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Valve Disease." Diseases & Conditions. May 2013. Accessed Sept. 2013.
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Types of Valve Disease." Diseases & Conditions. 2013. Accessed Sept. 2013.
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Valve Surgery." Diseases & Conditions. Dec. 2012. Accessed Sept. 2013.
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