HEART-VALVE DISEASE (Valvular Heart Disease)
(Valvular Heart Disease)
DESCRIPTIONValvular heart disease is a complication of disorders that distort or destroy the valves of the heart. The aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic heart valves are involved.
Appropriate health care includes: self-care after diagnosis; physician's monitoring of general condition and medications; hospitalization for precise diagnosis; surgery to replace or open defective valves (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSNo symptoms (sometimes).
Fatigue and weakness.
Dizziness or fainting.
Shortness of breath.
Heart murmurs (abnormal heart sounds heard by the doctor through a stethoscope).
Abnormal blood pressure (high or low).
High blood pressure.
Congenital heart defects.
The heart has 4 valves. The mitral and tricuspid valves (main heart valves) control blood flow into the ventricles. The aortic and pulmonic valves control blood flow out of the heart. Heart-valve disease can be either narrowed valves (stenosis), which obstructs blood flow, or widened or scarred valves, which allow blood to leak backward into the heart (insufficiency). The disorder may be inherited or caused by any of the following:
Family history of heart-valve disease; pregnancy; fatigue or overwork.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Obtain medical treatment for your child for conditions and diseases that cause heart-valve damage, such as high blood pressure, endocarditis, and syphilis.
Give the child antibiotics prescribed for streptococcal infections to prevent rheumatic fever.
If you have a family history of congenital heart disease, obtain genetic counseling before starting a family.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood tests.
EKG (See Glossary).
Heart catheterization (See Glossary).
X-rays of the heart, lungs and blood flow (angiography).
Special studies that may include ultrasonography, CAT or CT scan, MRI, radionuclide scan and echocardiogram (See Glossary for all).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSInfection of the valves; congestive heart failure.
Depends on the underlying condition. Many complications of valvular disease can be controlled with medication or cured with surgery.
HOME CARETell any doctor, dentist or anesthesiologist who treats your child that the child has heart-valve disease. Remind those involved, even if you think they know the details of your child's medical history.
MEDICATIONAntibiotics to treat or prevent bacterial infection of abnormal heart valves.
Anti-arrhythmic drugs to stabilize heartbeat irregularities.
Digitalis medication to strengthen or regulate the heartbeat.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
As much as your child can tolerate. No restrictions are necessary with some forms of heart-valve disease.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should eat a low-fat, low-salt diet (see Appendices 28 and 29).
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of heart-valve disease.
During treatment, the child develops signs of infection, such as fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and a general ill feeling.