Valvular Heart Disease
Variations in the acuity and severity of a few distinct valve lesions yield a wide variety of presentations among patients with valvular heart disease. While this can make valve disease seem confusing, a basic knowledge of the underlying physiology can actually make these conditions, including the presenting symptomatology, natural course, and treatment, more understandable. Such an understanding is essential since patients with severe valve disease may be critically ill, but are very treatable when the etiology is promptly recognized. Early recognition of mild or moderate disease is also essential since early treatment may allay complications and the need for risky mechanical intervention. In this chapter, we will systematically review the common etiologies, pathophysiology, natural course, diagnosis, and treatment for the most common valve lesions.