Heart Valve Diseases: Treatment/Management

Orange County’s High-Volume Program for Heart Valve Disease Treatment

Orange County is home to over 3.1 million Californians. They’re our neighbors, our coworkers and our friends. And every day, Hoag delivers the compassionate, patient-focused care and life-changing treatment options for heart valve disease that Orange County residents deserve.

Hoag’s Nancy & Bill Thompson Heart Valve Center is a nationally-respected hub for the diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease. Committed to the study and treatment of conditions that can impact the function of the heart valves, this unique center is driven by a program-wide dedication to the advanced diagnosis and treatment options that can improve outcomes for every patient with heart valve disease. For help, contact Hoag today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.

Visit these links for much more detailed information, including common symptoms and risk factors, about:

Mitral Valve Disease

Aortic Valve Disease

Tricuspid Valve Disease

How is Heart Valve Disease Treated at Hoag?

The treatment options for heart valve disease depend on the symptoms you may be experiencing, whether you’re strong enough for surgery, your overall health and other factors.

If your symptoms are mild, treatment may consist of lifestyle changes, along with monitoring the condition through regular visits to a cardiologist or other health care provider. This is also known as active surveillance.

However, if your heart valve issue has progressed to the point that it is limiting your ability to do day-to-day activities or has become life-threatening, other treatment options may be required to help control your symptoms or keep you from experiencing life-threatening complications, including cardiac arrest.

At Hoag, treatment and management options for heart valve disease may include:

Lifestyle Changes

For patients who are newly diagnosed with a heart valve disorder and other cardiovascular conditions, lifestyle changes are often part of the treatment plan. These changes may include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet that’s low in salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol, with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Getting plenty of regular exercise
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

While medication alone cannot cure heart valve disease, patients diagnosed with conditions such as valve regurgitation, prolapse or other heart valve problems are often prescribed certain medications. These medications can lessen symptoms, keep blood flowing to the body and decrease the risk of dangerous and serious complications like heart attack or stroke.

Medications commonly prescribed to help treat heart valve disease or control symptoms related to heart valve issues include:

  • ACE inhibitors and ARBs: Types of what are known as vasodilators, these medications open the blood vessels, helping slow the effects of heart failure and reduce elevated blood pressure.
  • Diuretics: Also called “water pills,” diuretics help remove excess fluid from the body, which can reduce stress on the heart.
  • Antibiotics: These drugs can help treat bacterial infections that may have invaded the heart muscle and heart valves.
  • Beta-blockers: Also known as beta adrenergic blockers, these drugs block the body’s output of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones which can contribute to the heart beating more forcefully than it should. This can lower the heart rate, along with the strain on the heart and blood vessels.
  • Anti-arrhythmics: If a patient has a rapid heartbeat or a heartbeat that is irregular or too slow, these medications regulate and restore a more normal rhythm.
  • Anticoagulants: Also known as blood thinners, these drugs help prevent blood clots, which can lead to a stroke.

Surgical Procedures to Treat Heart Valve Disease

The Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center at Hoag is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of heart valve issues.

At Hoag, surgical procedures to treat heart valve diseases include:

Valve Repair

Valve repair is a surgery that works to mend and heal a diseased or damaged valve instead of replacing it. In most cases, repairing a patient’s natural valve is usually seen as preferable to valve replacement.

At Hoag, types of valve repair surgeries include:

  • David Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement: This procedure is utilized to replace structures called the ascending aorta and the aortic root, without replacing the aortic valve. During the procedure, the aortic valve is re-implanted inside a tube graft made from a material called Dacron, with the coronary arteries then re-attached to the Dacron. This procedure is particularly effective for treating patients with trileaflet aortic valves with a small amount of aortic insufficiency (aortic leakage).
  • Yacoub Remodeling Procedure: The Yacoub remodeling procedure creates a new aortic root out of Dacron with a scalloped shape. This scalloped aortic root experiences less shear force while working, which adds durability to the repair.
  • Valvuloplasty: Usually performed through cardiac catheterization, which utilizes a long, thin tube called a catheter that’s guided through the body, valvuloplasty is often employed in cases involving valve stenosis (narrowing of a heart valve) due to the flaps of the valve becoming damaged or in cases where the valve flaps are stuck together. During a valvuloplasty procedure to correct valve stenosis, for example, a small balloon at the tip of the catheter is positioned near the narrowed valve, then inflated. This helps make the valve opening larger or separates valve flaps that may be fused together.
  • Annuloplasty: Sometimes performed together with other heart valve repair procedures, annuloplasty is a surgery to tighten or reshape a ring of tissue around the heart valves called the annulus, which can sometimes become misshapen or enlarged, resulting in regurgitation or stenosis.
  • Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair: In certain cases, mitral valve stenosis or mitral regurgitation can be fixed through a less-invasive procedure called Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair, or Transcatheter Edge to Edge Repair (TEER). During the procedure, cardiothoracic surgeons guide a catheter through the circulatory system to the mitral valve, then use it to complete the repair. This state-of-the-art, catheter-delivered valve repair surgery often results in a faster recovery with less pain.
  • Robotic-Assisted Valve Repair Surgery: Hoag is a pioneer in robotic assisted heart valve repair surgery, including robotic assisted mitral valve repair and tricuspid valve repair. During these procedures, a robot assists human surgeons, performing valve repair through small incisions in the chest. In addition to allowing surgeons to repair damaged valves that might once have required replacement, robotic assisted mitral valve surgery can also result in less pain, faster recovery time and a shorter hospital stay. Learn more about Robotic-Assisted Heart Valve Surgery at Hoag.
Valve Replacement

As the name suggests, valve replacement is a procedure in which the patient’s damaged or diseased aortic valve is removed and replaced, either with an artificial valve (also known as a mechanical valve) or what are called “tissue valves.” A tissue valve is made with human tissue from a donor, or — more rarely — a heart valve from an animal source.

At Hoag, types of heart valve replacement surgeries we perform include:

  • Conventional Valve Replacement Surgery: Conventional heart valve replacement has greatly advanced in recent years, giving cardiovascular surgeons and patients multiple options for replacement valves. In many cases, options include: mechanical valves, stentless valves and valves from human donors (also known as homograft aortic valves). Which type of valve is used depends on the patient’s cardiac structure, age, medical history and other factors.
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): ​Transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVR, is an advanced, minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a small, thin tube called a catheter, which is fed through the body to the aorta. This catheter is then used to remove the diseased or damaged aortic valve and implant a replacement valve. For 2023-2024, U.S. News & World Report named Hoag a High-Performing Hospital — their highest distinction — in multiple cardiac disciplines, including Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).
  • Bentall with Bioprosthesis or Prosthesis: Bentall with Bioprosthesis is a procedure that utilizes a graft to replace the aortic valve, root and the entire ascending aorta, with the coronary arteries implanted in the graft using what are known as aortic buttons. The procedure is often used in patients with severe connective tissue disorders like Marfan syndrome, and in cases involving dilation of the ascending aorta, aortic root and annulus.​
  • Robotic-Assisted Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery: Hoag is a pioneer in robotic assisted heart valve surgery, including robotic assisted mitral valve replacement. During this procedure, a robot assists human surgeons, performing mitral valve replacement through small incisions in the chest. Robotic assisted mitral valve surgery can result in less pain, faster recovery time and a shorter hospital stay.

Visit this link to meet Hoag’s Heart Valve Disease Team.

Looking for Comprehensive Cardiac Rehabilitation in Orange County? Hoag Has It.

Another change that may greatly benefit patients recovering from certain cardiovascular conditions and procedures is joining a cardiac rehabilitation program.

For patients in Orange County who have had heart valve surgical repair or replacement, Hoag’s cardiac rehabilitation program can be a literal lifesaver, helping patients come back stronger, with fewer symptoms and complications.

In Orange County, Hoag offers comprehensive, physician-supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs in both Newport Beach and Irvine-Sand Canyon, so the support our neighbors need is just a short trip away. Talk with your cardiologist about a referral to cardiac rehabilitation.

Visit this link to learn more about cardiac rehabilitation at Hoag.

Need Heart Valve Treatment in Orange County?

For patients in need of advanced treatment for heart valve disease in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and other communities across Orange County, the world-class cardiovascular team at Hoag stands ready to help you overcome the biggest health challenges of your life.

Part of the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, Hoag’s Nancy & Bill Thompson Heart Valve Center is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of valvular heart disease, including care for heart patients with conditions involving the pulmonary, aortic, tricuspid or mitral valves. For 2023-2024, U.S. News & World Report named Hoag a High-Performing Hospital — their highest distinction — in multiple cardiac disciplines, including Aortic Valve Surgery and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

From aortic stenosis to mitral regurgitation, congenital heart disease to high-risk valve repair procedures, Hoag has the tools, the technology, the programs and the award-winning team of board-certified cardiologists and cardiac surgeons you need for heart valve disease.

If you need heart valve repair or replacement in Orange County, contact Hoag today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.