Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease

Age is the biggest risk factor

One out of eight people over the age of 75 suffers from moderate to severe heart valve disease which involves damage to one or more of the heart’s valves. While some types are not serious, others can lead to major complications—including death.

Symptoms of heart valve disease

Many symptoms of heart valve disease develop gradually and patients often adapt their lifestyle in response to them or simply mistake their symptoms as being traits of aging. Symptoms of heart valve disease can include:

  • – Shortness of breath
  • – Chest pain or tightness
  • – Reduced physical activity
  • – Fatigue
  • – Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • – Feeling faint or fainting upon exertion

However, people with heart valve disease do not always display symptoms, even if their disease is severe. A clear indicator of valve disease can be the detection of a heart murmur. Most patients are diagnosed following a visit to their primary care professional who has listened to their heart with a stethoscope. If a murmur is detected, the patient will then be referred for an echocardiogram where they will receive a more accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Valve disease can be treated

For patients with severe aortic stenosis, their survival rate is as low as 50% at 2 years after the onset of symptoms and 20% at 5 years. A diseased valve can either be repaired or replaced by surgical or less invasive procedures. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment.

Survival rates after the onset of symptoms
hvc graph
2 years after
hvc graph
5 years after