Heart defects

Heart defects – congenital or acquired valvular heart disease. In humans and mammals there are four heart valves: the tricuspid, bicuspid, or mitral, and 2 semilunar. Bicuspid (mitral) valve is composed of two wings, which are attached to the edges of the left atrioventricular orifice. Through him the blood passes from the atrium to the ventricle, but the valve prevents the backflow of her.

Aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, consists of 3 semilunar valves, they prevent the return of blood from the aorta into the ventricle.

Tricuspid valve has three flaps that separate the right atrium and right ventricle. He does not allow the return of blood from the ventricle to the atrium. Semilunar valve – one of two heart valves, is located at the exit of the aorta and the pulmonary artery. Each valve has three flaps that provide blood flow in one direction – from the ventricles into the aorta and pulmonary trunk.

Due to various reasons the function of heart valves may be broken. These defects can be congenital or acquired.


  • Shortness of breath.
  • Swelling.
  • Catarrhal bronchitis.
  • Decreased performance.
  • Irregular pulse.
  • Dizziness and fainting.


One of the defects of the heart – stenosis – a narrowing of the valve opening. Due to tricuspid or bicuspid valve stenosis blood flow slows down in the affected part of the atrium. When aortic stenosis or stenosis of the pulmonary trunk due to the large overload of the heart, the ventricles are affected. If the valves do not close completely, the heart is overloaded. In this case, the blood is flowing through the valve hole, not only in the right direction, but in reverse, so the heart has once again throw out the blood. If damaged valves during contraction of the heart muscle are not closed enough, acquired heart disease are progressing – lack of bivalve or tricuspid valve. If the edges of valves covered with scars, their openings are narrowed and the blood flow through them is difficult, the stenosis develops. Stenosis of the left heart valves (bivalve and aorta) is most often seen.

Mitral valve stenosis

The disease progresses slowly. Symptoms: shortness of breath with suspense, the extremities are cold, the pulse is irregular. In addition, the disease is usually accompanied by a cough, fatigue, heart palpitations, pain on the right side, edema of the lower extremities. Skin of lips and cheeks becomes cyanotic hue. When X-rays and other methods of research enlarged left ventricle can be seen, which is caused by large overload of the heart.

Stenosis of the aortic valve

The valve is fully disclosed due to narrowing the gap between the moving leaflets. For a while the left ventricle is able to compensate for blood flow disturbance. However, if it begins to malfunction ventricle, there are following symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, pain in the heart. When the hard physical work that heart defect is particularly dangerous – there is a threat of sudden death.

Causes of valve stenosis

Most often, heart defects are congenital. They can be caused by rheumatic inflammation, bacterial endocarditis. Stenosis can occur when the disease scarlet fever, at least – as a result of injury, atherosclerosis, syphilis. In all cases the flap valves soldered and shrink. Simultaneously, the hole, through which the blood flows, becomes narrow. Of course, the valve stenosis is possible because of scarring or valve leaflets tendon strands that remain after endocarditis – inflammation of the heart valves.

Stenosis of the right atrioventricular openings

When stenosis of the right atrioventricular openings, blood flow in the veins slows down due to lesions of the tricuspid valve. In this case, less blood is ejected into the right ventricle. The heart tries to compensate for this defect by stronger reduction of the right atrium. However, blood accumulates quickly even in the cervical and hepatic veins. There is strong swelling and the patient begins to choke.

What is a heart valve insufficiency?

Incomplete closure of the valve of the heart leads to the fact that during the heart blood flow direction changes. This dysfunction of the valve is called a heart valve insufficiency. Failure of any valve is possible, but most often the left heart valves are affected. Increase in load leads to the fact that the heart is not doing its job, causing the heart muscle thickens; the patient has heart failure and shortness of breath.

Sometimes a doctor diagnoses the failure of a heart valve in a newborn. In many cases, small holes in the wings of the valves or the pockets of the semilunar valves or damage to these structures are found. However, among the congenital heart disease is most common valve stenosis. The holes in the valves or damage can also occur in adults. Valvular insufficiency in adults is often possible because of shortening of ligaments fixing the valve in the heart cavity. Usually these changes are caused by rheumatic fever, bacterial infection, rarely are associated with atherosclerosis.

Another specific case – so-called aneurysm heart valve leaflets, which is characterized by bulging through inflammation, congenital anomalies or degeneration. Aortic heart valve sometimes leads to its failure.


Treatment of heart defects begins immediately after its detection. If heart defect is a complication of rheumatic fever or any other disease, at first doctors treat these diseases.

Using drugs to cure heart valve damage is almost impossible, surgery is needed. Operations are of two types. The first type includes the operation, during which doctors try only to treat heart valve, the second – the operation to replace the natural heart valve with an artificial valve. In some cases, the expansion of the affected valve allows to remove or reduce the effects of stenosis. Often doctors do suture holes that are on the walls of the valve.

Sometimes the only way out is the implantation of an artificial heart valve. Artificial valves are divided into: autologous, homologous and heterologous. Autologous implants are made from their own human tissue, homologous – from tissue another person, heterologous – made of other materials, for example, animal tissue or plastic. Artificial heart valves – a device, which is equipped with a locking element.

Is it a dangerous disease?

Above all, the risk is associated with the fact that the heart of a patient is exposed to more load than the heart of a healthy person. In order to cope with this stress, the heart muscle increases in size. Subsequently, however, in spite of hypertrophy, heart weakens, and it is poorly pumping blood. As a result, the patient has a total heart failure, which is characterized by impaired activity of the left and right heart. Thus, heart defects require urgent treatment.

Due to the fact that the heart does not pump enough blood, blood supply to tissues is disturbed; tissues do not get enough nutrients and oxygen. With the accumulation of blood in the heart and blood vessels, the risk increases: there is swelling, disturbed function of lungs and other vital organs (increased venous pressure, liver, abdominal accumulation of fluid). If untreated, heart disease leads to heart failure, which can cause the patient’s death.