Heart Valve Disease Frequently Asked Questions

In some cases, cancellations and delays to treatment for non-emergency patients is a possibility. For many heart valve disease patients the delays is a worrying time.

Disruptions to appointments and treatment will no doubt cause anxiety and distress.  It is essential that you monitor your symptoms closely and if there is a significant change you should call your GP and ensure they understand the severity of your symptoms.

Here are some answers to some of your frequently asked questions:

If you are due to have surgery you should continue to prepare for it unless told otherwise by your clinician.

If your surgery is rescheduled for a later date you should monitor your symptoms closely. If your symptoms get worse and you begin to feel unwell you should report to your GP, call your valve clinic or in severe cases go to A&E.

If you are having chest pain at home you should call an ambulance. The NHS is still actively treating patients presenting with chest pain as a priority.

Most valve conditions can’t be treated with medication alone. However, sometimes the problem is not severe enough to require surgical repair, but it is bothersome enough to cause symptoms or risks. In cases like these, a condition might be effectively managed for a while with medication.

In some cases, medications may be prescribed for patients with valvular disease to:

  1. Reduce unpleasant symptoms that accompany milder forms of the disorder.
  2. Maintain heart rhythm if a related arrhythmia is present.
  3. Reduce calcification in and around coronary arteries.
  4. Lower the patient’s risk for clotting and stroke.

Valve dysfunction is a progressive disease, and among those who receive no treatment, the outlook can be poor. Many who do receive treatment go on to live very full and healthy lives, especially when their cardiovascular risks are otherwise low. For some patients, the procedure gives them over 15 years longer lifespan.

Heart valve disease should not be ignored. Valve repair and replacement can be very effective and evidence shows that, with proper treatment, most people enjoy a return to good health and add many years to their life. If you ignore a recommended procedure, there is a risk of heart failure, which may be fatal.

Medications cannot always protect the heart and the diseased valve may continue to damage the heart. Further actions may be needed. Your healthcare team can help you understand and evaluate options for heart valve repair or valve replacement surgery. Highly effective procedures are available for treating heart valve conditions. Not only are they treatable, but curable. Some people find that medications are no longer needed within a few weeks after surgery.