The doctor will perform a physical examination and inquire about your signs and symptoms, medical history, and family history. A heart murmur, which may be a sign of heart valve disease, will be heard by your doctor as they listen to your heart with a stethoscope.

Many tests are available for heart valve diagnosis, including:

  • Echocardiography. A transducer is used to point sound waves towards the heart. This process is done to see the structure of the heart, the conditions and functioning of the heart, as well as the heart valves and blood flow. The results of echocardiography are shown as video images of the moving heart.

A 3D echocardiogram and a transesophageal echocardiogram are also available. In a transesophageal echocardiogram, a doctor will insert a tiny transducer into a tube, which is guided to the mouth and then to the stomach to see the heart valves more clearly.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). A doctor can detect certain cardiac defects with an ECG, including an enlarged heart chamber, heart disease and heart arrhythmia. Pads of electrodes are attached on your skin to monitor electrical signals of the heart.
  • Chest X-ray. To see if you have an enlarged heart, which is a sign of heart valve disease of some types. Chest X-ray can also assist medical professionals in assessing the condition of the lung.
  • Cardiac MRI. To diagnose the condition of heart valve disease and its progression. Cardiac MRI creates precise images of your heart using magnetic field and radio wave and help to assess the size and function of lower heart chambers.
  • Exercise tests or stress tests. Shows how well the heart can deal with physical activities like exercising. For those who are about to undergo this test but cannot exercise, a doctor will prescribe medications that prompt the heart to beat as if you are exercising.
  • Cardiac catheterization. In this process, your doctor will start by inserting a catheter into a blood vessel of the arm or groin, before guiding it to an artery of the heart. Sometimes dye is injected through the catheter to make clearer X-ray images of the heart and arteries to assess the blood pressure inside the heart chambers and to see if the organ and its arteries are functioning normally.


A cardiologist will choose the best treatment for heart valve disease by looking at the symptoms, the severity, and if you have worsening health condition.

There are many treatment options available for heart valve disease, including:


It is important to monitor the condition through regular follow-ups with the doctor and well as self-monitoring.

This approach includes:

  • Adjusting your own lifestyle for better health
  • Alleviating symptoms with medications
  • For those with atrial fibrillation, a doctor will prescribe blood thinners in order to prevent blood clots formation.

Surgery or other procedures

In some patients, including asymptomatic ones, heart valve surgery may be the only possible procedure to repair or replace the impaired heart valve.

For those who have multiple heart conditions including heart valve disease, a doctor might use surgery to cure all of the disorders at the same time.

There are many options for heart valve surgery. It might be an open-heart valve surgery where a doctor makes an incision in the chest, or a minimally invasive surgery which leaves a smaller incision.

Sometimes a doctor might also use robotic equipment to make a heart surgery, called robot-assisted heart surgery. This kind of heart surgery is minimally invasive where robotic instruments are utilized during the procedure.

Heart valve repair

Heart valve repair is recommended to preserve the heart valve. The process of repairing a heart valve includes:

  • Patch holes in a valve.
  • Separate fused valve leaflets.
  • Replace the cords holding the valve.
  • Cut away any extra valve tissue to allow the leaflets to firmly seal.

A doctor might also implant an artificial ring to tighten or strengthen the ring surrounding a valve (annulus). Sometimes catheters may be used together with clips and plugs, among other devices. This is a less invasive choice for patients to repair some of their impaired valves.

Heart valve replacement

A doctor may try to replace an impaired valve through surgery if that valve cannot be fixed. In this kind of surgery, your former valve will be replaced by a mechanical valve or a biological/tissue valve taken from the heart lining of a cow, pig or human.

However, biological tissue valves might need to be replaced as they can break down over time.

Your doctor might choose transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) instead as a minimally invasive alternative in which, a catheter is inserted into an artery of the leg or chest and will be guided to the impaired heart valve. An artificial valve will be sent to the area through the catheter to replace the impaired valve.

You will require lifelong blood-thinning medicine if you have a mechanical valve in order to prevent blood clots.