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What causes heart valve disease?

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In brief: Causes of Heart Valve Disease

There are five causes of heart valve disease as follows:

Rheumatic heart disease
Infection of the heart valve with the bacteria "streptococcus" is followed in weeks to months by a delayed inflammatory reaction called "rheumatic fever", resulting in changes of the valve.
Damage to the delicate valvular structures can cause narrowing of the valve or failure to close completely, permitting regurgitation (blood backflow) and leading to progressive malformation of the valve.

Degenerative heart disease
Degenerative heart diseases such as degeneration of mitral/aortic valve and mitral valve prolapse lead to regurgitation. Elderly people are vulnerable to calcific narrowing of the aortic valve, in which calcium deposits build up on the valve. Such degeneration usually causes narrowing of the aortic valve or mitral valve regurgitation.

Infective endocarditis
It is an infection of the endocardium, the lining that covers the inner walls of the heart’s chambers and the valves. It occurs when bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms multiply on the valves’ inner lining which eventually cause holes in the valve, distort it and completely disrupt its function.

Congenital heart disease
Problems with the heart valves may be present from birth.

Specific damage from other cardiac diseases
Valve dysfunction can trigger other cardiac diseases, such as coronary artery disease, which makes papillary muscles become hypoxic or infarct, and then the impaired contractile function of these muscles can lead to a leaky tricuspid or mitral valve.

In brief: Causes of Heart Valve Disease

There are five causes of heart valve disease as follows:

Rheumatic heart disease
Infection of the heart valve with the bacteria "streptococcus" is followed in weeks to months by a delayed inflammatory reaction called "rheumatic fever", resulting in changes of the valve.
Damage to the delicate valvular structures can cause narrowing of the valve or failure to close completely, permitting regurgitation (blood backflow) and leading to progressive malformation of the valve.

Degenerative heart disease
Degenerative heart diseases such as degeneration of mitral/aortic valve and mitral valve prolapse lead to regurgitation. Elderly people are vulnerable to calcific narrowing of the aortic valve, in which calcium deposits build up on the valve. Such degeneration usually causes narrowing of the aortic valve or mitral valve regurgitation.

Infective endocarditis
It is an infection of the endocardium, the lining that covers the inner walls of the heart’s chambers and the valves. It occurs when bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms multiply on the valves’ inner lining which eventually cause holes in the valve, distort it and completely disrupt its function.

Congenital heart disease
Problems with the heart valves may be present from birth.

Specific damage from other cardiac diseases
Valve dysfunction can trigger other cardiac diseases, such as coronary artery disease, which makes papillary muscles become hypoxic or infarct, and then the impaired contractile function of these muscles can lead to a leaky tricuspid or mitral valve.
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Dr. Tonga Nfor
Board Certified, Internal Medicine - Cardiology
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