Signs and symptoms of heart valve disorders

Learn the signs and symptoms of heart valve disorders.

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What are the signs and symptoms of heart valve disorders?

Symptoms of heart valve disorders include:

  • shortness of breath
  • swollen ankles or feet
  • chest pain or pressure
  • a fast pounding heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

Should you be tested?

Your health care provider may recommend testing if they hear unusual sounds or murmurs when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.

How are heart valve disorders diagnosed?

Your health care provider can diagnose a heart valve disorder based on the symptoms you describe and a physical exam.

A valve that does not work properly often makes the clear sound of a heart murmur. Your health care provider can hear this with a stethoscope.

Tests that can help with the diagnosis include:

  • chest X-ray
  • electrocardiogram, which is a graph of the heart’s electrical activity
  • echocardiogram, which uses sound waves (ultrasound) to make a picture of your heart
  • cardiac catheterization, which inserts a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a large blood vessel leading to your heart and:
    • measures the pressure and blood flow in your heart
    • evaluates your heart muscle function for moving blood through each chamber
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