Congenital Valve Disease


Your heart has four valves that open and close with each heartbeat. When they’re working properly, they make sure your blood flows in one direction as it goes through the four chambers of your heart and on to the rest of your body. 

Congenital valve disease happens when a heart’s valves don’t develop before birth. Sometimes the defect keeps the valve from closing completely, which means blood can flow back into the heart. Then the heart has to work extra hard to pump it out again. Over time, that strain can cause serious issues such as dilated cardiomyopathy,heart failure and aortic aneurysms.


Many people don’t realize they have congenital valve disease until middle age, when symptoms tend to develop. These can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting 
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stronger heart murmurs or palpitations
Symptoms often get worse during or after physical activity.


To diagnose congenital valve disease, your Aurora doctor will perform a physical exam and cardiac tests, which may include:

Services & Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with congenital valve disease, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Your plan might include: 

  • Balloon valvuloplasty: a catheter with a small balloon on the end is threaded through a blood vessel from your groin to your aortic valve. The balloon is inflated to stretch the valve.
  • Carefully monitoring of your condition 
  • Medication 
  • Valve repair or replacement surgery

Why Aurora?

Aurora Health Care offers the only specialty center in Wisconsin for treating adult congenital heart disease. At the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, you’ll get the care you need from our experts. 

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