Matters of The Heart: Cardiovascular Diseases
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How are valvular diseases treated?

The treatment approach for valvular diseases depends on the severity of the condition, the symptoms experienced by the patient, and the impact on overall heart function. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and prevent further complications. Here are the common treatment options, including medications and surgical interventions, for valvular diseases:

Medications. Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms, control underlying conditions, and prevent complications. These may include:

  • Diuretics. To reduce fluid buildup and relieve symptoms of fluid retention, such as swelling and shortness of breath.

  • Beta-blockers or Calcium Channel Blockers. To control heart rate and blood pressure, improving heart function and reducing symptoms.

  • Anticoagulants or Antiplatelet Agents. To prevent blood clots in certain valve conditions or for those at risk of embolic events.

  • Medications for Heart Failure. Such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, or aldosterone antagonists, to improve heart function and reduce symptoms in heart failure associated with valvular diseases.

Surgical Interventions. Surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the affected valve, particularly in cases where the valvular disease is severe or causing significant symptoms. Surgical interventions include:

  • Valve Repair. Some valves can be surgically repaired to restore their normal function. This may involve procedures such as valve leaflet repair, annuloplasty (reconstruction of the valve annulus), or chordal reconstruction.

  • Valve Replacement. If the valve cannot be repaired, it may need to be replaced with either a mechanical valve or a biological valve. Mechanical valves are durable but require lifelong anticoagulation therapy, while biological valves are derived from human or animal tissue and do not necessitate long-term anticoagulation in most cases.

  • Transcatheter Valve Interventions. Minimally invasive procedures, such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), may be suitable for certain patients who are at high surgical risk or not suitable for open-heart surgery. This involves replacing the valve using a catheter-based approach, typically through the femoral artery.

The choice of treatment depends on several factors, including the specific valve affected, the patient’s overall health, and the preferences of the patient and the medical team. It is essential for individuals with valvular diseases to receive regular follow-up care, adhere to medication regimens, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A multidisciplinary approach involving cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and other healthcare professionals ensures comprehensive and individualized management of valvular diseases to optimize outcomes and improve the patient’s overall cardiovascular health.