Heart Valve Testing, Screening & Imaging

Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease in Orange County

Heart valve disease is a potentially serious structural heart problem impacting one or more of the four valves that regulate blood flow through the heart.

At Hoag’s Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center, our highly experienced team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, radiologists and registered vascular technologists is dedicated to providing Orange County’s most advanced range of minimally invasive procedures, diagnostics and tests for heart valve disease. Hoag offers excellence in diagnostics and treatment options leading to better outcomes and quality of life for patients who need heart valve care in Orange County, and that’s what our neighbors deserve. If you are concerned about Heart Valve Disease, contact Hoag today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.

What are the Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease?

Many people with heart valve issues experience symptoms so slight that they may not even know they have an issue until the disease progresses or they are diagnosed during a checkup or unrelated procedure.

For more detailed information about the symptoms and risk factors for specific heart valve disorders, Hoag has deep-dives on a variety of valvular heart conditions, including:

Aortic Valve Disease

Mitral Valve Disease

Tricuspid Valve Disease

What Can I Expect During a Physical Examination for Heart Valve Disease?

If you visit a doctor or emergency room with symptoms that suggest you might have a heart valve issue, you will likely be given a thorough physical exam. This will usually include a blood pressure check and listening to your heart and the operation of your heart valves.

In particular, your healthcare provider will likely listen for what’s called a heart murmur, which is a whooshing sound that can indicate turbulent blood flow caused by damage to the heart valves.

You’ll also likely be asked about your symptoms, how long you’ve been experiencing them, your personal and family history of cardiovascular issues, valve issues, high blood pressure and more.

Depending on the outcome of this examination, you may be asked to submit to further testing to help diagnose heart valve disease or rule it out.

Need Heart Valve Testing? Orange County Turns to Hoag.

Confirming or ruling out a diagnosis of heart valve disease usually involves a variety of techniques, often including imaging tests, physical exams and medical procedures.

The Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center at Hoag offers patients in Orange County world-class diagnosis, imaging and testing for conditions that can affect the delicate interplay of the valves of heart valves.

A cohesive, patient-focused home to internationally known cardiovascular specialists, cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists, this hub for advanced, life-changing heart valve care is dedicated to offering the best and most advanced treatment for heart valve disease in Orange County, for every patient, in every interaction.

Learn more about the advanced treatment options for heart valve disease available at Hoag.

Which Medical Tests are Used to Diagnose Heart Valve Disease?

Hoag’s Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center is dedicated to utilizing the best and most advanced imaging and diagnostic technology available in the diagnosis of heart valve disease, resulting in individualized treatment plans that save lives and preserve quality of life.

Medical tests used to diagnose heart valve disease include:

Cardiac Catheterization

Also called coronary angiography, cardiac catheterization is a less-invasive method that allows physicians to get a clear view of the heart muscle, the heart’s valves and the overall function of the heart.

During the procedure, a long, thin instrument called a catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in the arm or leg, then painlessly guided through the body to the heart. Once the catheter is in position, the catheter is used to inject a substance called contrast dye into the heart.

This substance makes the structures of the heart much more visible on X-rays. X-ray videos are then taken of the chest, allowing specialists to get a clear view of any issues, including potential valve disease.

3D Echocardiography

Echocardiography with 3D imaging is an advanced form of echocardiogram that uses ultrasound to create detailed, three-dimensional images of the heart in motion in order to confirm or rule out valve disease. At Hoag, real-time 3D echocardiography allows physicians to detect or monitor even mild or otherwise overlooked abnormalities in the heart’s valves, as well as other cardiac conditions.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal Echocardiogram, or TEE, is an advanced form of echocardiography that utilizes a small ultrasound transducer that is painlessly inserted down the esophagus to place it closer to the heart. Without interference from the chest muscles, lungs and ribs, this allows physicians to capture much more detailed images of the heart, particularly the upper chambers and the valves that service them.

Cardiac MRI

A special form of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cardiac MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of a patient’s heart, including the heart valves.

Stress Testing

Stress testing measures and evaluates the function of the heart and heart valves while the patient is performing some sort of exercise, such as riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill. If a patient is too ill to perform exercise, drugs may be administered that simulate the effect.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

Electrocardiogram is a non-invasive test that allows health care providers to evaluate the electrical function and regularity of the heart. One of the first tests that is typically administered after a cardiac event like a heart attack, severe chest pain or heart arrhythmia, an electrocardiogram can give physicians crucial information about how your heart is functioning.

Explore heart valve treatment options at Hoag.

Need the Most Advanced Heart Valve Repair in Orange County? Nobody Knows the Heart Like Hoag.

Part of the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, the Nancy & Bill Thompson Heart Valve Center at Hoag is committed to patient-centered care and finding and utilizing the best and latest advancements in diagnostic imaging and less-invasive techniques, means you have access to an advanced heart valve disease program for the most challenging and complex heart valve issues, right here in Orange County.

Why? Because that’s what our community in Huntington Beach, Irvine, Anaheim, Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo deserve: heart valve care near you that’s accessible and world-class.

From robotic-assisted heart valve procedures to advanced valve repair, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to next-generation treatments for mitral regurgitation, nobody knows hearts like the compassionate team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and specialists at Hoag.

Orange County’s standard in cardiovascular disease care is set every day at Hoag. Contact us today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.