Heart Valve Problems


Signs and Symptoms

The main sign of heart valve disease is a heart murmur that your doctor may hear with a stethoscope. A heart murmur is an extra sound that can be caused by blood flowing through a narrowed or leaky valve. A heart murmur often sounds like a “whoosh” or “swish”. However, not all heart murmurs are due to heart valve problems.

If your symptoms are mild, such as mild fatigue or lightheadedness, your healthcare provider may choose to wait before treating valve problems. 

More serious symptoms of heart valve problems include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Shortness of breath at rest
  • Chest pain, pressure, tightness, or squeezing
  • Racing, fluttering, or irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the ankles, legs, or belly
  • Fainting
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
If you develop any of these symptoms, notify your healthcare provider right away. If these symptoms start suddenly, they could be a sign of acute heart failure, which is a medical emergency.  If you can’t reach your provider, call 911.


Last Updated July 2020