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Treatment Program

Valve Disease

Our world-class cardiovascular specialists provide multidisciplinary care for heart valve diseases. Our experts offer a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, from minimally-invasive valve repair to complex surgical interventions. 

heart providers performing surgery on patient in operating room

About the heart valve disease program

In this unique program, specialists in valvular heart disease, cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery and cardiac anesthesia work together to fully diagnose and understand a patient’s valve condition, and provide personalized and comprehensive care to determine the best and most appropriate approach to treatment. 

Our world-renowned experts determine if a patient needs an intervention on their heart valve. If necessary, we use both traditional open chest and minimally invasive procedures and our outcomes consistently exceed regional and national averages.


Heart valve-related conditions we treat

  • Aortic stenosis: Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve, and is a common but serious heart condition that reduces blood flow to the body. Over time, it can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure.
  • Aortic regurgitation: Aortic regurgitation occurs when the aortic valve does not seal or close properly, causing blood to flow backwards into your heart. Over time, pressure and fluid can build up in your heart and lungs, eventually causing heart failure.
  • Mitral valve stenosis: Calcium build-up, infection, and congenital heart defects can cause the mitral valve to open incompletely. Mitral stenosis can increase the blood pressure in your heart and lungs, leading to difficulty breathing and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Mitral valve regurgitation: One of the most common forms of heart valve disease, this condition occurs when the mitral valve fails to close and seal completely, causing blood to flow backwards inside of the heart instead of out to your body. Severe mitral valve regurgitation can cause the heart to enlarge over time and pump blood less effectively. As a result, patients can develop heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Tricuspid valve stenosis and regurgitation: Tricuspid valve disease causes the valve to open or close incorrectly, leading to fluid accumulation and liver and other organ damage.
  • Pulmonic valve stenosis and regurgitation: Usually caused by congenital heart conditions or an infection, pulmonary valve disease affects the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs. 

Katherine’s Story: A Healthy Baby After Heart Surgery During Pregnancy

When Katherine and her husband Shawn learned they were pregnant with their first child, they were filled with a mix of emotions. Katherine had a pre-existing heart condition called rheumatic mitral valve stenosis, which posed a significant threat to both her life and the life of her unborn child.

Katherine and her new husband Shawn in their wedding clothes, holding their baby, Amari, between them.

Heart valve disease symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Some patients may not have any symptoms, even if they have severe disease. Others may have uncomfortable symptoms without severe disease. It’s important you speak with your provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may be experiencing. 

Heart valve disease diagnosis

A heart valve condition is diagnosed by dedicated cardiac imaging specialists, who use advanced imaging techniques. Diagnostic testing may include the following procedures:

Approach to heart valve disease treatment

Our heart team provides coordinated patient care for heart valve conditions, performing thorough assessments and customizing each patient’s treatment plan to meet their specific needs. Prior to your first visit, your care team will review your case, looking at all records and imaging studies to determine what additional tests or consults may be needed. When possible, we work with you to schedule those related appointments on the same day.

Your care team will discuss with you whether or not medical or surgical intervention is necessary, and if so, which procedure is most appropriate.

If surgical procedures are not immediately needed, your physician may decide to closely monitor the affected heart valve over a series of follow-up appointments. They may prescribe heart medication, as certain medications can help relieve symptoms by controlling blood pressure and abnormal rhythms of the heart.

Depending on the state of your heart valve(s), surgery may be required to repair or replace the damage. Our surgeons offer both minimally invasive, endoscopic (catheter-based) surgical procedures and traditional open-heart surgeries.

Our clinicians and surgeons are at the forefront of the latest clinical trials, developing and implementing new surgical devices, including robotic surgical techniques. At Mass General Brigham Heart, we bring technological and procedural advancements directly to our patients in order to improve outcomes and shorten surgical and recovery times. 

Mass General Brigham surgeons are experts at performing minimally invasive procedures for eligible patients with stenosis and/or regurgitation of the aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic heart valves.

During these minimally invasive procedures, a surgeon makes small incisions in the side of a patient’s chest to allow the insertion of small tubes containing tiny surgical instruments. A surgeon controls these instruments from outside your body, accessing the heart and performing the valve replacement or repair. These instruments mimic the surgeon’s hand movements and, in some cases, provide even more dexterity and precision.

Minimally invasive valve procedures we specialize in include:

  • Valve repair
    • Aortic valve reconstruction and catheter-based options
    • Minimally invasive mitral valve repair
    • Mitral valve clip surgery, a procedure wherein a small device is used to stop leaking in the mitral valve. This is a minimally invasive interventional cardiology procedure also called transcatheter edge-to-edge repair (TEER). The mitral valve is a tiny gate made of two flaps and controls blood flow between the left atria and left ventricle of the heart. The leaking of blood through this gate is also known as mitral valve regurgitation.
  • Valve replacement
    • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

These procedures are very safe and have low complication rates. Compared with traditional open heart surgery (sternotomy), patients who undergo minimally invasive procedures tend to have:

  • Faster recoveries
  • Less bleeding
  • Lower postoperative pain
  • Quicker returns to work/active lifestyle
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Smaller scars

The valve specialists at Mass General Brigham work closely with patients to determine the best treatment plan for each individual.

Valve disease research and clinical innovation

Physicians at Mass General Brigham Heart have revolutionized medical care for valve disease. Whether it’s a study of a new minimally-invasive valve repair surgery or an improvement to heart valve replacement, we are at the forefront of the latest discoveries, bringing clinical breakthroughs directly to our cardiology patients.

Learn how our experts are innovating and using transcatheter valve therapies and offering TPVR as a lower-risk option for pulmonary regurgitation

News & highlights