How is Heart Valve Disease Diagnosed?


To find out if you have heart valve disease, your doctor will examine you and ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family’s medical history. They will perform a physical examination of your body. Using a stethoscope, your doctor will listen to your heart. The sound of a heart murmur is a possible sign of a heart valve condition.

Tests used to diagnose heart valve disease might include:

  • Echocardiogram (echo). An echocardiogram creates an image of the chambers and valves in your heart and measures the blood flow through your heart to detect any problem.
  • Transesophageal is a different type of echocardiogram that is inserted through the mouth to the stomach. This test allows for a closer look at the heart valves than is possible with a regular echocardiogram.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This test measures your heart’s electrical activity, rate, and rhythm. An ECG can detect enlarged heart chambers and irregular heart rhythms.
  • Chest X-rays show the heart and lungs’ condition and can help detect an enlarged heart, which may be related to heart valve disease.
  • Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of your heart and show how blood flows in your heart and coronary arteries.
  • Exercise stress test. This type of test measures your heart performance during physical activity. Heart problems may show during an exercise stress test because your heart pumps harder than when you are resting.

How is Heart Valve Disease Treated?


Treatment options for your condition depend on the type of valve disease you have, the level of damage, your age, and your medical history. If your condition allows, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and medication and will continue to monitor your condition.

If your condition is more serious, you may need heart valve surgery to repair or replace a heart valve that is not working properly. After heart valve surgery, you’ll continue taking medication.

Lifestyle changes

  • Avoiding or quitting smoking
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping a healthy diet
  • Managing stress


Your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat the symptoms of your heart valve disease and prevent your condition from worsening or treat other conditions that can affect your heart valves.

Medications may include:

  • Medicines to control high blood pressure, such as diuretics
  • Medicines to control the heart rate
  • Blood thinners to treat or prevent blood clots
  • Antibiotics to treat infections that cause heart inflammation


  • Heart valve repair surgery is recommended if the valve can continue functioning after the procedure. In some cases, doctors use less invasive procedures to repair certain valves. The heart valve may be repaired by:
    • Making holes in a valve that wasn’t formed properly
    • Separating valve leaflets that are fused to allow blood to flow through the valve
    • Removing excess valve tissue so that the valve can close tightly
    • Replacing the cords that support the valve
  • Heart valve replacement surgery is done if the valve is damaged and cannot be repaired. The damaged valve is removed and replaced with a mechanical valve, or a valve made of biological tissue from animal or human heart tissue. A minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be used to replace a damaged aortic valve.
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Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Heart Valve Disease Treatment

At NewYork-Presbyterian we understand the symptoms associated with heart valve conditions and can offer a quick diagnosis and efficient treatment options.

Call today to make an appointment with a heart specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian.