Baptist Health Heart Institute Valve Clinic

Conditions We Treat

As the premier multi-disciplinary heart center in Arkansas, the Institute provides the highest quality of heart care to patients with complex structural heart and valve conditions.

Heart Valve Disease

Aortic valve stenosis

According to the American Heart Association, aortic stenosis is one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening. Aortic stenosis restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and may also affect the pressure in the left atrium.

Mitral valve regurgitation

When the mitral valve becomes leaky, it's called mitral valve regurgitation. It’s also known as mitral insufficiency. The mitral valve is one of the heart’s 4 valves. Normally, the mitral valve prevents blood flowing back into the left atrium from the left ventricle. In mitral valve regurgitation, however, some blood leaks back through the valve. It doesn’t just flow forward into the ventricle the way it should. Because of this, the heart has to work harder than it should to get blood out to the body.

Failing prosthetic heart valves

Failing prosthetic heart valves is a condition where an artificial heart valve fails to work properly due to tissue degeneration. 

The Baptist Health Heart Institute Valve Clinic treats many other heart valve conditions including aortic valve insufficiency, mitral valve stenosis, pulmonic stenosis and tricuspid valve regurgitation. 

Congenital heart defects

Atrial septal defects (ASD)

The atrial septum is the wall between the 2 upper chambers of the heart (right and left atria). An atrial septal defect is an abnormal hole in this wall. ASD is a heart problem that is present at birth (congenital).

ASDs can happen on their own. Or they can happen in children born with other congenital heart defects. Girls have ASDs twice as often as boys.

Patent foramen ovale (PFO)

A patent foramen ovale is a small opening between the two upper chambers of the heart, the right and the left atrium. Normally, a thin membranous wall made up of two connecting flaps separates these chambers. No blood can flow between them. If a PFO exists, a little blood can flow between the atria through the flaps. 

The condition is most important because it raises the risk for stroke. Blood clots can travel from the right atrium to the left atrium and out to blood vessels of the body. If the clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, it can cause a stroke. These clots can also damage other organs such as the heart or the kidneys.

Everyone has a PFO at birth. It is a normal part of the circulation of a fetus. But, in most infants, this small hole naturally closes very soon after birth. But in some cases, it does not. Having a patent foramen as an adult or older child is not normal. But it occurs in a large number of people. It may be slightly more common in younger adults compared with older adults. But it occurs in people of all ages.

Ventricular septal defects (VSD)

A ventricular septal defect is a congenital heart defect. This means that your baby is born with it. A VSD is an opening or hole in the dividing wall (septum) between the 2 lower chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles). VSDs are the most common type of congenital heart defect.

A VSD allows oxygen-rich (red) blood to pass from the left ventricle through the opening in the septum. Then it mixes with oxygen-poor (blue) blood in the right ventricle.

There are different types of VSD. The type your child has depends on which part of the wall between the ventricles is involved. The size of the opening or hole also varies.

Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is a disease that causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. The heart muscle cells enlarge more than they should and scarring often develops between the cells.

The left and right ventricles are the 2 lower chambers of the heart. A muscular wall called the septum separates these 2 ventricles. With HCM, the walls of the ventricles and septum may thicken abnormally.

The thickened septum may bulge into the left ventricle and partially block the blood flow out to the body. This is called obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. When this happens, the heart must work harder to get the blood out to the body.

Because of thickened heart muscle, the inside of the left ventricle is smaller, so it holds less blood than normal. The ventricle can also become very stiff. As a result, it is less able to relax and fill with blood.

HCM can also damage the mitral valve, which can increase pressure in the ventricles. This can cause fluid to build up in the lungs. The abnormal heart cells in HCM can also set off abnormal heart rhythms.

HCM is a common condition. It affects the same numbers of men and women. In most cases, the symptoms first appear during adolescence or young adulthood.