A Look At Heart Valve Disease

Health: heart disease, heart score line AP / CBS

Research from Mayo Clinic estimates that about 5 million adult Americans have moderate or severe heart valve disease as a consequence of aging, according to a study published online in The Lancet. An investigational new procedure repairs the valve, without open-heart surgery.

What Is This Investigational Treatment?
The experimental treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small clip to help properly close the leaflets of the mitral valve in patients with mitral regurgitation.


Where Can I Find Out About This Treatment?
While it will be a few years before the procedure is widely available, there are trials going on throughout the country. To find out if you are eligible for this procedure, click here.


What Are The Four Heart Valves?
  • The tricuspid valve is between the right atrium and right ventricle.
  • The pulmonary or pulmonic valve is between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
  • The mitral valve is between the left atrium and left ventricle.
  • The aortic valve is between the left ventricle and the aorta.

    Each valve has a set of flaps (also called leaflets or cusps). When working properly, the heart valves open and close fully, according to the American Heart Association.


  • What Is A Defective Heart Valve?
    A defective heart valve is one that fails to fully open or close, according to the American Heart Association.
  • A stenotic heart valve can't open completely, so blood is pumped through a smaller-than-normal opening.
  • A valve also may not be able to close completely. This leads to regurgitation (blood leaking back through the valve when it should be closed).


  • What Is Mitral Regurgitation?
    Mitral regurgitation occurs when the flaps of the heart's mitral valve do not close properly and leak. The mitral valve is a one-way, blood flow regulator that separates the left atrium (a chamber in the heart which collects blood from the lungs) from the left ventricle (a chamber in the heart which pumps blood out to the body). During pumping, the leak causes blood to flow backwards (MR) into the left atrium, thereby decreasing blood flow to the body.


    What Are The Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure?
    Patients with severe chronic Mitral regurgitation may have symptoms of congestive heart failure such as:
  • Fatigue or inability to exercise
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or blacking out
  • Weight gain from fluid retention.


  • To Learn More About Heart Disease:
    • For a look at state-by-state estimates of the prevalence of heart disease, visit this CBS News interactive.

    Mended Hearts is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Heart Association, which has additional resources.

    • Click here to find services and providers for heart valve diseases in your local area.

    • The American Heart Association has additional resources.

    The Cleveland Clinic.


    Research from Mayo Clinic estimates that about 5 million adult Americans have moderate or severe heart valve disease as a consequence of aging, according to a Mayo Clinic study published online in The Lancet. An experimental new procedure repairs the valve, without open-heart surgery
    • Melissa McNamara

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