2018 Stories

The Story of the Heart Valve

Over the last several years, a rising incidence of valvular heart disease has spurred increased interest in discovering new, more effective ways to treat this type of cardiovascular disease that many worry often goes undiagnosed. The disease can afflict people at any age and is sometimes congenital, though its most often seen as an affliction of the elderly. As the world’s population ages, the prevalence and costs of treating those impacted by valve disease will rise significantly, making the work of Texas Heart Institute more and more critical.

Valvular heart disease is a group of mechanical diseases that impose an overload on the heart which eventually cause heart failure. These mechanical problems currently have only mechanical solutions – correction through valve repair or replacement. Researchers at THI are investigating improved replacement procedures with less invasive technology and the potential of adult stem cell therapies.

THI researchers seek to increase our understanding of exactly what causes the mechanical issues to overload the heart to the point of failure. This knowledge could lead to new therapeutic targets that will enable physicians to better time interventions before the adverse affects of the disease create additional conditions in patients. The ultimate goal is to improve patient selection for surgical and percutaneous interventions available today.