The heart's valves open and close to keep blood flowing properly, with
oxygenated blood flowing into the heart and blood needing oxygen flowing
out. Valve disease occurs when the heart's valves do not function
properly. Some disorders cause stenosis (narrowing) or obstruction of
the valves, which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the
body. Other valve disorders are characterized by the inability of valves
to close completely. These regurgitation or insufficiency disorders allow
blood to leak back through the valve into the heart.
Specific Cardiac Defects
The St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular Center offers the latest therapies
and treatments for valve disorders, from drug therapies to the most advanced
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) causes a decrease in blood flow to the heart
muscle. When fatty substances called plaque are deposited in the inner
lining of an artery, the artery is narrowed, restricting or blocking blood
flow. The rupture of this plaque can cause a heart attack and subsequent
Any one of several diagnostic tests may be used to diagnose and determine
the severity of the CAD or heart attack and your current heart health.
These diagnostic procedures may include an electrocardiogram, an exercise
stress test, or cardiac catheterization.
Open-heart surgery is not the only treatment available for coronary artery
disease. In fact, it is usually the last course of action after a period
of medical treatment. The St. Joseph Hospital Heart Center offers the
latest drug regimens as well as a full range of cardiac interventional
therapies, including cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, balloon
valvuloplasty, laser, cutting balloon, and stents.
Coronary artery bypass, sometimes referred to as CABG or "cabbage,"
is an operation performed to improve the supply of blood and oxygen to
the heart. This procedure creates a new path through which blood can flow
freely. During surgery, blood is rerouted around clogged arteries using
blood vessels taken from other parts of the body such as the leg and chest wall.
Valve disease occurs when the heart's valves do not function properly.
Some disorders cause stenosis (narrowing) or obstruction of the valves,
which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body. Other
valve disorders are characterized by the inability of valves to close
completely. These regurgitation or insufficiency disorders allow blood
to leak back through the valve into the heart.
Several diagnostic tests may be used to diagnose and determine the severity
of the valve disease and your current heart health, including an echocardiogram,
Doppler ultrasound, or a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).
Valvular disease treatment
A number of medical treatments can be used to manage valve disorders, depending
on the severity of illness. Medications that improve the heart's ability
to pump, regulate its rhythm, or reduce its workload are often helpful
in alleviating symptoms. Antibiotics are also necessary before any procedure
that may cause bleeding in order to reduce the chance for infective endocarditis,
an infection that affects the valves. Other treatments include balloon
valvuloplasty, which may be used to relieve stenosis (narrowing) of the
Valve surgery is performed to repair valve defects or replace malfunctioning
valves in order to restore proper blood flow through the heart. In valve
repair surgery, a surgeon may trim the valve, sew it to make it tighter,
or patch the defect, depending on the deformity. During valve replacement,
the damaged valve is removed and replaced with a new valve that is implanted
in its place.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease, the most common birth defect, is a heart defect
that occurs during fetal development in the uterus. About one out of every
100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, which can involve one
or more heart structures or blood vessels around the heart. In most cases,
the cause of the defect is unknown, but research has suggested that congenital
heart disease may be the result of a genetic abnormality or exposure of
the developing fetus to certain medications, toxic substances, alcohol or drugs.
Congenital heart disease treatment
The FDA-approved Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve (TPV) is a treatment
that uses a catheter to insert a specially-designed heart valve into a
vein in the leg that is guided to the heart. The heart valve is attached
to a wire frame that expands with the help of a balloon to push the blocked
pulmonary conduit open.
St. Joseph Hospital became one of the nation's first hospitals to place
the Melody ® TPV in four patients who were born with a congenital
heart defect. Utilizing Orange County's first
hybrid OR, which incorporates a robotic 3D imaging system,
Farhouch Berdjis, MD, and
Richard Gates, MD, successfully implanted the Melody® TPV in two pediatric patients
ages 11 and 12, and two young adults ages, 18 and 21. All four patients
were discharged the next day.
Individuals born with a complex congenital heart defect often face a lifetime
of surgery and hospitalizations. The Melody® TPV provides an option
for many patients and can significantly reduce re-operation rate. The
Melody® TPV reduces hospital stays and speeds up recovery times. Most
patients are able to return to normal activities within a week.
For information on the St. Joseph Hospital Adult Congenital Heart Program
click here. For more information on the Melody® TVP,