BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. Heart valve problems are common, but for many people, they don’t cause symptoms. In some people, valvular heart disease requires treatment. Our expertise with heart valve procedures and our excellent outcomes are well known throughout the region.
At BJC HealthCare, you’ll find:
- Dedicated cardiologists: The cardiologists and surgeons on our valve team focus primarily on diagnosing and managing valvular heart disease. This focus gives them a high level of expertise. You can be confident that you are receiving appropriate medical care or surgery recommendations at the right time.
- Care for patients with multiple conditions: We treat patients who have both coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease. Our experienced medical team can treat these two co-occurring conditions in high-risk patients.
- Collaborative approach: You have access to experts in cardiology, heart surgery, heart imaging, interventional cardiology and other specialties. These providers work together to coordinate your care and update your treatment plan as needed.
- Excellent results: U.S. News & World Report ranks Barnes-Jewish Hospital as High Performing for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and aortic valve surgery. These rankings confirm that our patients’ results are significantly better than national averages.
- History of innovation: Barnes-Jewish Hospital was the first in St. Louis to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement. We also partner with physicians who take part in clinical trials to develop new techniques, such as mitral valve clip therapy and valve-in-valve procedures. In addition, we can offer procedures that require compassionate use approval from FDA.
Heart valve disease describes problems with the way your heart valves control blood flow through your heart. It’s common for heart valves not to work as they should. Valves stiffen with age in some people. Other people may be born with a valve problem.
Heart valve disease can make you tired and breathless. It can also cause chest pain, dizziness or an irregular heartbeat. Over time, it can lead to heart failure.
Valvular heart disease most often affects your heart’s valves in one of two ways:
- Valve regurgitation (leaking heart valve): Valves do not close as they should. Blood regurgitates (flows backward), causing your heart to work too hard to push blood to your body.
- Valve stenosis: Hardened valves don’t open all the way, eventually restricting heart function and blood flow to your body.
Medicines and lifestyle changes often relieve symptoms and delay complications for mild heart valve disease. Your doctor may recommend:
- Healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking and managing your stress levels strengthen your heart.
- Medication: Drugs such as diuretics, blood thinners and beta-blockers can help reduce the load on your heart.
- Surveillance: “Watchful waiting” means your doctor monitors your heart valve problems. You may need regular echocardiograms (heart ultrasounds).