Center for Heart Valve Disease Overview
Valvular heart disease is the third most common cause of heart problems in the United States. There are four valves in the heart that direct blood flow forward through the chambers of the heart. Heart valve disease can occur with any one or a combination of the valves, and it will often lead to heart failure if left untreated.
Diseases of the mitral or aortic valves (the valves of the left side of the heart) are common, affecting over 5 percent of the population. Heart valve disease implies that a valve either fails to open properly (stenosis) or fails to close properly, allowing backward flow of blood (regurgitation).
The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Center for Heart Valve Disease is led by Robert O. Bonow, MD and Patrick M. McCarthy, MD. Dr. Bonow is recognized internationally for his expertise, research and teaching on both aortic and mitral valve disease. He was recently the chairman of the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) Task Force on the Management of Patients With Valvular Heart Disease. This Task Force updated the practice guidelines that assist physicians in clinical decision making for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of heart valve disease. Dr. McCarthy is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon and an innovator of valve repair techniques. He recently designed a mitral valve prosthetic ring that is used to repair leaking mitral valves and it is regarded as one of the best devices available.
It is a priority among the cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at the Center for Heart Valve Disease to repair rather than replace heart valves whenever possible to preserve a patient's own heart valve so that blood thinning (anticoagulation) medications are not required. When patients have combined disease of both the aortic valve and the ascending aorta (the large vessel that houses the aortic valve and takes blood out of the heart), the Center for Heart Valve Disease strives to replace the diseased aorta and repair the aortic valve using a technique known as "valve-sparing aortic root replacement."
Patients that come to the Center for Heart Valve Disease also benefit from sophisticated imaging technology that can detect and evaluate some types of heart valve disease even before symptoms appear. The Center utilizes state-of- the-art noninvasive imaging for valvular heart disease, which includes dual source 64 slice CTA and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view and study valvular heart disease.
Emotional and Behavioral Health
Cardiac treatment is most successful when it focuses on the physical, emotional and behavioral health of the patient. Northwestern's Cardiac Behavioral Medicine service was created with the understanding that the mind and body (the heart, in particular) influence each other.
Kim L. Feingold, PhD, director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine, Gail M. Osterman, PhD, and Paul Goetz, PhD, are clinical cardiac psychologists that specialize in helping patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis and cope with challenges throughout the course of treatment.
For more information regarding heart valve disease, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.
Among the Nation's Best
In 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked our Cardiology and Heart Surgery program 17th in the nation and the highest ranked program in the state of Illinois.
Highlighting the Performance of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
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