These are vasodilator, which means it opens blood vessels more fully and can help reduce blood pressure and slow heart failure.
Glossary of terms
An Aneurysm is a weakening of the artery wall which creates a bulge. Most aneurysm do not show symptoms and are not dangerous. However some can rupture, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding.
These help to restore, or maintain, a normal rhythm to the heart beat.
These help to prevent the onset of infections post-treatment.
One of the heart valves that controls blood flow from the lower heart chambers to the arteries. It is located at the outlet of the heart between the left ventricle (major pumping chamber of heart) and the aorta (major blood vessel which supplies blood around the body).
This occurs when there any change to a normal sequence of electrical impulses to your heart. The electrical impulses may get faster, slower, or just erratic causing the heart to not behave properly.
AF for short is a heart condition that causes an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate.
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitation or fluttering or irregular beating
Contact your GP if are experiencing any of these symptoms.
These can reduce the heart's workload as the help the heart beat slower. Some patients find them helpful for reducing palpitations, and controlling heart rate.
Bicuspid aortic valve is a type of abnormality in the aortic valve which is one of four valves in the heart. In a bicuspid aortic valve, the valve has only two small leaflets, instead of the normal three. This condition can be present from birth, often referred to as ‘congenital’. Click here for more information.
These are also known as ‘water pills’. They reduce the amount of fluid in the tissues and bloodstream which can lessen the workload on the heart.
Bacteria and fungal Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocardium). The endocardium becomes inflamed and can cause valve damage. Endocarditis is a very serious infection and needs to be treated immediately as they can cause heart failure and/or strokes. Click here for more information.
Heart failure can onset quickly or develop over weeks and months.
- Feeling tired during exercise
- Swollen ankles and legs
See GP if the symptoms worsen. If you experience sudden or severe symptoms call 999.
An artificial valve, made from a mixture of metals, very smooth carbon and a cloth sewing ring which enables it to be sewn in the heart. Once a mechanical valve is inserted lifelong blood thinning treatments are required.
Unlike traditional open heart surgery which is very invasive, MIS allows a heart valve to be inserted through a small incision in the groin or chest which is far less invasive. This technique provides a better cosmetic result, offers quicker recovery times and potentially avoids some of the complications associated with conventional open heart surgery. However, at this stage MIS is not suitable for every patient and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.
One of the heart valves that controls blood flow from the upper heart chambers to the lower chambers. It sits between the left atrium and the left ventricle (major pumping chamber of heart), very close to the lungs.
This is a commonly diagnosed form of valve regurgitation. Mitral valve prolapse is estimated to affect as many as 1 in 20 people. In serious cases, the mitral valve can become weakened or stretched, ballooning out and sometimes causing a back flow of blood. Despite its frequency, it usually causes no symptoms, as the amount of blood that leaks back is often slight.
The mitral valve is a dual-flap valve. If the two flaps – or leaflets – do not meet properly when the valve closes this can result in leakage which can be repaired by restoring the meeting points of the valves. If a mitral valve repair is carried out, the presence of the patient’s normal tissues is maintained and the best outcome is usually achieved.
Open heart (sternotomy) surgery has proven to be a very successful method of valve repair and replacement for more than 50 years. This method is more often used for the mitral or tricuspid valves and lasts a few hours. Patients remain in hospital for a few weeks and recovery takes around three months. Open heart means a large incision is made in the chest and the heart is stopped for a time so that the surgeon can repair or replace the valve(s). The scar from open-heart surgery will be noticeable - especially for women.
- Arthritis symptoms of swelling/painful joints.
- Heart inflammation resulting in shortness of breath, persistent cough, rapid heartbeat, fatigue and chest pain.
Staph infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. It usually affects the skin and will go away with time but sometimes it will need to be treated with antibiotics. In extreme cases it can cause blood poisoning or toxic shock syndrome.
Diagnosis starts with a simple step – listening to the heart with a stethoscope. To diagnose heart valve disease, the doctor needs to use a stethoscope to listen for the characteristic heart “murmur” or “click-murmur” which is often the first indication of a heart valve disorder. They should listen to four positions on your chest during this check
Stroke symptoms to look for:
- Face - Has one side of their face dropped? Can they smile as they normally would? Has one side of the mouth dropped down?
- Arm - experiencing numbness in their arms and not being able to lift their arms.
- Speech - Slurred speech or difficulty understanding what is being said by others.
If you see these signs call 999 immediately.
TAVI stands for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation and is a minimally invasive alternative to conventional surgical replacement of the aortic valves. It involves inserting a crimped replacement valve attached to a catheter usually via a small incision in the groin. Once in position in it is either balloon-inflated or self-expanded in the diseased valve in order to return blood flow to normal. TAVI is thought to offer effective treatment for patients who are considered too high risk for conventional surgical aortic valve replacement.
An artificial valve, made from animal tissues (pig or cow) and mounted on a frame with cloth surround, enabling it to be sewn into the heart. There is no requirement for blood thinning treatment once a tissue valve is inserted, unless there is another reason for these tablets to be given.
The tricuspid valve allows for the forward flow of blood from the right atrium to the ventricle but when it is diseased this flow of blood becomes either restricted or flows back though valve in the wrong direction. When the flow of blood is restricted, this is referred to as tricuspid valve stenosis and means that the leaflets of the valve are not opening properly due to stiffening or calcification. When the valve no longer closes properly allowing for the flow of blood back through into the heart’s right atrium, this is referred to as tricuspid valve regurgitation. Click here for more information
Valve replacement involves removing a faulty or damaged valve and replacing it with a new one made from synthetic materials or animal tissue. This surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. The valve may need to be replaced as it has become narrowed (stenosis) or the valve is leaky (regurgitation).
When a valve fails to close completely, the valve itself can become “leaky,” allowing blood to backwash down through the valve (called “regurgitation”). In addition, the valve may not ever completely move the volume of blood to the next appropriate chamber. This condition includes mitral regurgitation and aortic regurgitation.
This is primarily due to age-related hardening (calcification) of the aortic valve leading to progressive narrowing. The valve can either be exceptionally narrow (therefore having a “stenosis”) or have a blockage which limits the blood flow through the valve. This may result in a “back-up” of blood behind the valve as if behind a dam, causing the heart to pump inefficiently or building up blood pressure in the lungs. This is most commonly associated with aortic stenosis or mitral stenosis.
As for the ace inhibitors, these can lower the heart's workload by opening and relaxing the blood vessels; reduced pressure may encourage blood to flow in a forward direction, rather than being forced backward through a leaky valve.