Heart Valve Disease

Aortic Valve disease is the most common valvular surgical disease. It is common among older patients, and can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately. Aortic stenosis, or progressive calcification of the valve leaflet, prevents blood from being ejected from the left ventricle, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. Aortic regurgitation occurs when the valve leaflets do not close properly, and blood is allowed to return to the left ventricle. Aortic valve disease can be treated by surgery or transcatheter heart valve replacement.

The most common diseases of the mitral valve are mitral valve regurgitation and mitral stenosis, which can affect the mitral valve's ability to regulate blood flow. Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the leaflets do not close completely, causing blood to leak back into the left atrium and decreasing the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Mitral valve stenosis occurs when the valve does not open completely, usually because of calcification, and blood flow is obstructed.

Our renowned surgical team routinely cares for high-risk patients, many of whom are considered inoperable at other centers. In fact, patients are routinely transferred to us for life-saving care from hospitals across the Northeast as well as from abroad. We are also known for our unparalleled commitment to complete patient care – we know that having a cardiac operation is a major life event, and our team of surgeons, cardiologists, therapists, and coordinators will walk you through every step of your evaluation, treatment, and recovery. Our goal is to make you feel comfortable and confident right from the start, and keep you informed and involved in every aspect of your care throughout your stay with us.

Whenever possible, we use the latest interventional, hybrid, or minimally invasive approaches to minimize risk, decrease discomfort, and shorten hospital stay and recovery time. In fact, over the last decade, our cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists have worked together to develop procedures that combine surgical and catheter-based techniques, resulting in safer, less invasive “hybrid” treatments and options such as percutaneous aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair.

In the pages that follow, we hope to give you a glimpse of the truly amazing, innovative work that goes on at Columbia every single day, all with the same goal: to provide the very best evaluation and treatment of patients with heart disease, utilizing the safest, most effective, and least traumatic techniques available anywhere in the world.

For information on heart valve disease in children, please visit our Pediatric Heart Valve Center.