Structural heart disease involves defects or disorders of the heart tissue or valves. These problems may be congenital, meaning they are present at birth. Or, they may develop later in life often due to wear and tear. Heart valve disease is a type of structural disease that is more common among the aged population and is a growing problem in recent years with the increase in life expectancy.
Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the four heart valves is damaged or defective and the heart cannot function as it should. Some of the more common heart valve problems involve regurgitation (leaking), stenosis (narrowing) or prolapse (improper closing). Heart valve disease disrupts the normal blood flow through the heart and potentially impairs its ability to pump blood to the body. It can lead to serious health complications, including heart failure.