How is valve disease diagnosed?

A physical examination may also reveal fluid in the lungs, an enlarged heart, or a heart murmur, which is the sound made by blood moving through a stenotic or a leaky valve. Heart valve disease can also be found on several medical tests:

  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) - a moving image of the heart’s valves and chambers using sound waves from a hand-held wand placed on your chest or passed down your throat;
  • Cardiac catheterization (angiogram) - x ray movies of the coronary arteries, heart chambers, and heart valves produced by contrast dye injected into a catheter in your arm or leg.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) - electrical activity of the heart recorded on graph paper, using small electrode patches attached to the skin.

Additional test, such as the transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), exercise stress echocardiogram,radionuclide scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used.

By repeating tests over time, your doctor can see the progress of your valve disease and help make decisions about your treatment.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/21/2019.

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