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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Minneapolis Heart Institute®'s Valve Center

doctor uses a stethascope to listen to a patient's heart Minneapolis Heart Institute logo has an image of a human heart

Minneapolis Heart Institute®'s Valve Center
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
800 East 28th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407
612-863-VALV (8258)

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Minneapolis Heart Institute®'s Valve Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital evaluates and treats heart valve disorders using the latest diagnostic, surgical and non-surgical techniques. A team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurse practitioners and other care providers will assess your heart valves and recommend a care plan.

To learn more or make an appointment at the Valve Center, call 612-863-VALV or email valve@allina.com.

The Valve Center offers the latest treatments for valve disease, including:

  • standard surgical procedures
  • minimally invasive or robotic-assisted procedures (using small incisions and special instruments)
  • catheter-based procedures (inserting a catheter into a blood vessel to reach the heart, and then deploying an artificial valve or repairing the existing valve through the catheter into the heart).

Because of the large number of patients treated at the Valve Center, the Valve Center team has developed specialized skills and expertise related to diagnosis and treatment. They also have experience in treating patients with complex valve disease or those who may not be candidates for standard surgical procedures.

The Valve Center participates in many clinical trials, allowing patients to access the most advanced treatments available for valve disease.

To learn more or make an appointment at the Valve Center, call 612-863-VALV (8258) or email valve@allina.com.

How heart valves work

Diagram of a normal heart shows how blood flows from the right atrium through the tripcuspid valve to the right ventricle and then up through the pulmonary valve. Blood goes from the left atrium, through mitral valve to the left ventricle and the up through the aortic valve.

Valves are flaps of tissue that open and close with each heartbeat. It is important for valves to open widely and close tightly during each heartbeat to keep blood from leaking backward.

There are four valves:

Left-sided valves

  • mitral valve: separates the left atrium (upper left filling chamber) and left ventricle (lower left pumping chamber)
  • aortic valve: controls blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta

Right-sided valves

  • tricuspid valve: separates the right atrium (upper right filling chamber) and right ventricle lower right pumping chamber)
  • pulmonary valve: controls blood flow from the right ventricle to the lungs

Signs and symptoms of valve disease

Some signs and symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue, tiredness
  • feeling lightheaded, dizzy or faint
  • swelling in feet, legs or stomach
  • chest discomfort (not common)

Heart valve disorders

Diagram compares a normal aortic valve to a heart valve with aortic stenosis

Any heart valve can have a problem. You may be born with a valve problem or develop one later in life. The most common problems in adults are with the aortic and mitral valves.

  • Stenosis occurs when a valve thickens or becomes stiff, keeping the valve from opening properly. Stenosis makes the heart work much harder to force blood to flow through a smaller opening.
  • Insufficiency / regurgitation occurs when a valve does not completely close, causing blood to leak backward. Insufficiency, like stenosis, makes the heart work harder.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Valve Disease, cvs-ahc-14172
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
First Published: 08/01/2006
Last Reviewed: 06/12/2012

How your doctor will find (diagnose) valve disease

Your doctor can listen to your heart with a stethoscope for a murmur. A murmur is a sound made by abnormal blood flow across a valve. There are other test(s) you may need to learn more about a valve problem, such as:

  • echocardiogram: This test lets your doctor see if valves open and close properly. It also checks the size of your chambers and how well your heart pumps. Narrowed or leaking valves show up clearly on this test. An echocardiogram is usually the first test doctors do to diagnose a heart valve problem.
  • transesophageal echocardiogram (or TEE): This test can give your doctor more detailed information about the heart valves.
  • electrocardiogram (or EKG): This test checks the rhythm of your heart, which may be changed with severe valve disease.
  • heart magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI): This test makes a 3-D image of your heart and valves.
  • computed tomography (or CT) angiogram: This test uses X-ray to get images of your heart valves and chambers. It can also be used to check for possible heart artery blockages. This test uses X-ray dye. Please tell your doctor if you have an X-ray dye allergy.
  • cardiac catheterization: This procedure involves placing one or two catheters (small tubes) in the heart from a blood vessel in the leg or arm. It gives your doctor a look inside your heart. It can measure pressure on either side of a heart valve to show how much narrowing has occurred. Your doctor may inject a dye to see how much a valve leaks. He or she may also take pictures of your heart arteries to look for blockages.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Valve Disease, cvs-ahc-14172
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
First Published: 08/01/2006
Last Reviewed: 06/12/2012

Valve disease treatments

Your doctor will talk with you about your best option.

Medicine

Medicine may be prescribed to treat symptoms or prevent some symptoms from occurring.

  • Diuretics (water pills) help your body get rid of extra fluid.
  • ACE inhibitors relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. They are used to prevent or treat heart failure.
  • Beta-blockers slow your heart rate. They are also used to prevent or treat heart failure.
  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners) keep blood from clotting in and around the heart valves and the chambers of the heart.

Valvuloplasty

This is a procedure done through a catheter (small tube) to open a narrowed aortic, mitral pulmonic valve. A balloon-tipped catheter is threaded from the leg into the heart and inflated across the narrowed valve to open better.

Repair

This is a surgery to treat leaky valves. It avoids the need to replace a valve with a mechanical or tissue valve. This can be done as an open heart surgery or as a catheter-based procedure.

Replacement

This is a surgery to replace a valve with a mechanical valve or a tissue valve. It may be done as an open procedure or as a catheter-based procedure. The replacement valve is placed in the heart through a catheter (small tube).

The Valve Center is one of a few centers approved to replace aortic valves through a catheter, using an FDA-approved device for high-risk patients who are not candidates for surgery.

Clinical trials for catheter-based valve treatment

In some cases, doctors can implant or repair valves in the heart through a catheter instead of doing open heart surgery.

The Valve Center is implanting aortic valves with this procedure through a Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial called Partner II. The Valve Center also is repairing mitral valves with a catheter-based procedure through another FDA-approved clinical trial called REALism.

Learn more about both trials at mplsheart.org/heart-valves.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Valve Disease, cvs-ahc-14172
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
First Published: 08/01/2006
Last Reviewed: 07/12/2012

The Valve Center team includes valve specialists whose practice centers on diagnosing and treating valve disease. The highly experienced team is known for its advanced skills.

The Valve Center has weekly Valve Clinics attended by both cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. They also meet weekly to review complex valve cases, giving patients the benefit of having a range of insights to address their specific needs.

Dr. Kshettry performs valve replacement surgery.

To make an appointment, call
612-863-VALV
or email valve@allina.com.

Director

Wesley R Pedersen, MD, FACC

Co-directors

Kevin M Harris, MD, FACC, FASE
Vibhu R Kshettry, MD, FACS, FRCS

Advanced imaging: CT and MRI

Bjorn Flygenring, MD, FACC
Thomas Knickelbine, MD
John Lesser, MD, FACC
Terrence Longe, MD
Marc Newell, MD
Robert Schwartz, MD, FACC
Craig Strauss, MD

Echocardiography

Kevin M Harris, MD, FACC, FASE

Interventional cardiology

Michael R Mooney, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FAHA
Wesley R Pedersen, MD, FACC
Anil Poulose, MD, FACC

Invasive echocardiography

Richard Bae, MD, FACC
Kevin M Harris, MD, FACC, FASE
Desmond Jay, MD

Cardiac surgery

Frazier Eales, MD, FACS
Thomas F Flavin, MD, FACS
Vibhu R Kshettry, MD, FACS, FRCS
Benjamin Sun, MD

Nurse practitioner

Deborah M Lindgren-Clendenen, RN, MN, GNP-BC, CNP

Nursing

Peg Demmer, BSN, RN, CCRC
Marlene Doll, RN
Sara Olson, BSN, RN, CCRC