What Is Valve Disease?


Dr. Marc Gerdisch pic
Dr. Marc Gerdisch
Image: franciscanhealth.org

A senior partner at Cardiac Surgery Associates, Dr. Marc Gerdisch is a member of the largest heart, vascular, and thoracic surgery practice in the United States. The chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Marc Gerdisch is a specialist in heart and valve diseases.

Valve disease is caused by structural changes in the heart that affect the opening and closing of heart valves. When the valves do not open fully, blood flow is obstructed. When the valves do not close properly, blood leaks backward into the ventricles.

Symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, especially when performing routine activities or when lying flat on the bed, heart palpitations characterized by irregular heartbeats, swollen ankles and feet, rapid weight gain, dizziness and weakness, and chest discomfort.

To diagnose valve disease, a physician may perform a physical examination, which can reveal enlarged heart tissue or heart murmurs. Diagnostic testing such as echocardiogram or cardiac catheterization can provide more information about the presence and severity of valve disease, as well as the best options for treatment.