Generally, patients with valvular heart disease can be monitored clinically and with cardiac imaging until symptoms or ventricular enlargement or dysfunction appear. Optimal timing of valve surgery or intervention remains a crucial determinant of patient outcome.
- Transthoracic echocardiography is the imaging modality of choice for diagnosis and follow up of patients with valvular heart diseases.
- Exercise testing has a role in evaluating apparently asymptomatic patients with valvular heart disease to identify whether they are truly asymptomatic.
- Transcatheter aortic valve implantation has emerged as an alternative treatment to valve replacement by open heart surgery for the management of aortic stenosis in patients with a prohibitive surgical risk.
- Anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation in those with concomitant valve disease (including valve replacement) is currently limited to warfarin.
Picture credit: © Mesa Schumacher