Valvular Heart Disease

Ask the Heart Expert
Dr. Matthew Slater


I have valvular heart disease. Will I need surgery?


Valvular heart disease occurs when there is a problem with one of the four heart valves. When healthy, these valves ensure blood flows smoothly through the heart and doesn’t leak backward. When not healthy, the valves leak or narrow. Valvular heart disease can be caused by infection, a small defect at birth or the effects of aging. It makes your heart work harder and manifests in shortness of breath, even at rest. Some sufferers will notice this more severely when lying flat, especially in the middle of the night.

Your cardiologist, in partnership with a cardiac surgeon, can best determine if you should get faulty valves repaired or replaced. Surgery to repair heart valves is preferable in most cases. However, if repair is not feasible, our experienced heart specialists at OHSU’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute can discuss with you the latest technological advancements available for valve replacement.

Ask a question about valvular heart disease treatment optionsTo schedule an appointment, call the OHSU

Knight Cardiovascular Institute at 503 494-1775.