If you have heart valve disease, such as aortic stenosis or mitral valve regurgitation, our specialists can help.

As your heart beats, multiple valves open and close to help blood move through it. When you have heart valve disease, at least one of your valves isn’t working correctly, making it harder for your heart to pump blood through.

Our heart and valve specialists can help your heart work as efficiently as possible. They are experienced in diagnosing and treating heart valve disease with the latest techniques and approaches.

Heart valve disease symptoms and risk factors

In some cases, you may not have any symptoms. But as you age, you may start to notice symptoms of heart valve disease. Often, people mistake these as signs of normal aging.

Symptoms of heart valve disease

Some signs you may have heart valve disease include:

  • A heart murmur (a whooshing sound that occurs between heart beats)
  • Swelling in your feet, legs, abdomen or chest
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, especially when you exercise or lie down
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain

If you start experiencing signs of heart valve disease, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Risk factors for heart valve disease

Whether or not you have symptoms, talk to your care team if you have these risk factors:

  • Atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries)
  • Congenital heart disease (present at birth)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatic fever (inflammation of the heart and blood vessels)

Diagnosing heart valve disease

If you have heart valve disease symptoms or risk factors, your doctor may order tests. These tests will look at how well your heart is functioning and may include:

  • Cardiac catheterization: Your cardiologist guides a catheter (tiny tube) through an artery to reach your heart. This procedure can reveal heart and valvular problems like heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and blocked arteries.
  • Cardiac computed tomography (CT) scan: This imaging test involves an X-ray machine to produce a detailed picture of your heart. This test can show plaque buildup or blockages in your arteries and problems with your heart valves.
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test uses radio waves and a large magnet to produce a detailed picture of your heart. The images show how well your blood flows, allowing your provider to pinpoint areas of your heart that need treatment. We are the only hospital in mid-Missouri to offer this radiation-free test.
  • Cardiac stress test: A technician monitors how well your heart performs when you perform physical activity, like walking on a treadmill.
  • MRI stress test: This is an alternative test if you are unable to exercise for a cardiac stress test. During an MRI stress test, we’ll give you a medication that can make your heart function the way it does during exercise. This allows us to evaluate the blood flow to your heart.
  • Echocardiogram: During this ultrasound test, sound waves produce a detailed picture of your heart. The images capture how well your heart chambers and valves pump blood. The test can also reveal any arrythmias.

How we treat heart valve disease

At MU Health Care, we offer treatments that relieve your symptoms of heart valve disease and prevent further heart damage.


Certain medicines can help your heart work more efficiently and slow damage to your heart. Your cardiologist may prescribe:

  • Blood pressure medications to control your blood pressure
  • Blood thinners to reduce your risk for stroke
  • Antiarrhythmics to help regulate irregular heart rhythms

Heart valve repair and replacement

If you have more advanced heart valve disease, such as severe aortic stenosis, you may need a heart valve repair or replacement procedure.

At MU Health Care, our heart valve care team specializes in treating heart valve disease with:

  • Cardiac catheterization, a procedure to evaluate your heart directly
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive valve replacement procedure
  • Transcatheter edge-to-edge repair (TEER), a procedure to fix leaking mitral valves less invasively

Open-heart surgery to repair or replace valves

Leaders in heart valve disease treatment

Our heart and vascular providers actively participate in cardiology research and clinical trials. This means your care plan could include medicines or procedures to treat heart valve disease that aren’t yet widely available.

Completely coordinated heart valve care

Our heart and vascular team is with you throughout your care process, from diagnosis to recovery. We start by diagnosing your heart valve problems as early as possible — when they’re easier to treat.

And if your treatment involves surgery, MU Health Care’s rehab team can help you resume your daily activities more comfortably.

Testing near you

If traveling to one of our MU Health Care locations is difficult, we can help make testing more convenient for you.

We can arrange for your testing to take place at your doctor’s office or a location closer to you. We’ll then coordinate with your doctor to share test results — and we’ll collaborate with them to develop your care plan.