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Valvular Heart Disease

            Valvular heart disease affects many and about five million people in the Untied States are diagnosed with it each year. (Shappell) The types of valvular heart disease discussed in this paper are aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, and mitral regurgitation. There are many diagnostic tests used to evaluate valvular disease, but the most common, electrocardiogram and radiological evaluation, are the main two that will be addressed. In order to understand the tests, the disorders are defined and the etiologies given. Also, the clinical manifestations and treatment options are included for better understanding.
             The first type of valvular heart defect is aortic stenosis. That is the obstruction of flow from the left ventricle to aorta. The etiology involved with aortic stenosis includes congenital abnormality, degenerative wear and tear, and rheumatic fever. Mild to moderate stenosis is not usually accompanied by symptoms. With severe stenosis, a patient will exhibit fatigue, dyspnea, syncope, and angina pectoris. (Oakes).
             The clinical manifestations include an increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, decreased pulse, and decreased systolic blood pressure. Auscultation will either be normal or will reveal wheezes and/or crackles. Arterial blood gas (ABG) findings will be normal, unless there is underlying pulmonary edema. Heart sounds will be harsh with a crescendo-decrescendo type murmur. The neck veins, urine output, skin, capillary refill, and mental status will all remain normal. (Oakes).
             In order to diagnose aortic stenosis, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and radiological evaluation (X-ray) are essential. EKG findings will typically reflect left ventricular hypertrophy. X-Rays will show left ventricular enlargement, aortic valve calcification, and other areas of the heart may be enlarged. (Oakes).
             Management of aortic stenosis includes surgery for severe cases.

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