Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can heart valve defects cause heart attacks?"
I had a heart attack. Was this because of a heart valve defect? I'm 44.
The short answer to your question is no, a heart valve defect should not cause a heart attack. When physicians tell their patients that they had a heart attack, most of the time we mean that they had a myocardial infarction. I will explain what this means. A myocardial infarction occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle itself is cut off from a blood clot or blockage of some type. When heart muscle is cut off of blood flow, it causes chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. In severe cases it can result in an heart failure or death. The immediate treatment is to open up this blood flow with a cardiac catheterization. Heart valve defects are problems with one of the heart valves. The most common type of heart valve defect is aortic stenosis. This is when the aortic valve becomes hard and stiff. This make it harder for the heart to get blood out to the body. The most common symptom of this disease is exercise intolerance and shortness of breath. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. He or she can determine what type of treatment you need to help prevent another heart attack from happening. Good luck.