Heart Valve Disease
|Heart disease drugs||What they do|
|Diuretics ("water pills")||Remove extra fluid from the tissues and bloodstream; lessen the symptoms of heart failure|
|Anti-arrhythmic medications||Control the heart's rhythm|
|Vasodilators||Lessen the heart's work. Also encourages blood to flow in a forward direction, rather than backwards through a leaky valve.|
|ACE inhibitors||A type of vasodilator used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.|
|Beta blockers||Treat high blood pressure and lessen the heart's work by helping the heart beat slower and less forcefully. Used to decrease palpitations in some patients|
|Anticoagulants ("blood thinners")||Prolong the clotting time of your blood, if you are at risk for developing blood clots on your heart valve.|
Follow your doctor's orders when taking these heart disease drugs. Know the names of your medications, what they are for, and how often to take them. Keep a list in your wallet or purse with this information.
Surgery and other procedures. The diagnostic tests your heart doctor orders help to identify the location, type, and extent of heart valve disease. The results of these tests, the structure of the heart, and your age and lifestyle will help determine the best treatment for you.
Surgical options include heart valve repair or replacement. Valves can be repaired or replaced with traditional heart valve surgery or a minimally invasive heart valve surgery. Heart valves may also be repaired by other procedures such as percutaneous balloon valvotomy.
Living With Heart Valve Disease
When you have heart valve disease, it is important to protect yourself from future heart problems, even if your valve has been repaired or replaced with surgery. Here are some tips to stay healthy:
- Know the type and extent of your heart valve disease.
- Tell all your doctors and dentist you have valve disease.
- Call the doctor if you have symptoms of an infection.
- Take good care of teeth and gums.
- Take antibiotics before you undergo any procedure that may cause bleeding.
- Carry a wallet card that may be obtained from the American Heart Association with specific antibiotic guidelines.
- Take your medications. Drugs are used to control symptoms and help the heart pump blood more efficiently. Follow your doctor's instructions about how and when to take medications.
- See your heart doctor for regular visits, even if you have no symptoms. Appointments may be scheduled once a year or more often, if your doctor feels you need to be followed more closely.