On January 1, 2020, Carol and her husband traveled to Florida for the start of their four-month winter vacation. Carol felt fatigued as soon as she arrived, but did not initially give much thought to it. After a few days, Carol’s exhaustion had grown, and she’d developed a new pain in her abdomen.
Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
Heart Valve Program
Explore This Treatment Program
Care During COVID-19
Our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible care. We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure welcoming and safe office visits, procedures and surgeries, in addition to offering virtual telehealth visits. Your health and safety is our top priority.
About the Heart Valve Program
The Heart Valve Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center provides a multidisciplinary team of experts to manage complex and common valve diseases. In this unique program, specialists in valvular heart disease, cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery and cardiac anesthesia work together to:
- Fully diagnose and understand a patient’s valve condition
- Provide personalized and comprehensive care to determine the best and most appropriate approach to treatment
- Determine if a patient needs an intervention on their heart valve
- Perform state of the art treatments for valve disease, including:
- Heart valve surgery—both minimally invasive and open surgical procedures
- Catheter-based procedures
A Convenient Process Customized to Each Patient
Our team strives to make the evaluation process convenient and efficient by coordinating care among all specialists and by quickly communicating with referring physicians. We customize each patient’s appointment to meet their specific needs.
Prior to a patient's initial visit, Heart Valve Program physicians collect and review all records and imaging studies to determine what additional tests or consults are needed, and when possible, to schedule those appointments on the same day.
A patient's initial evaluation includes a full assessment, with a determination of whether or not an intervention is necessary, and if so, which procedure is most appropriate for the patient's specific condition.
Conditions We Treat
The Heart Valve Program at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center cares for patients with conditions affecting any of the heart’s four valves, including previously placed prosthetic heart valves. These conditions include:
Aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve, is a common but serious heart condition that reduces blood flow out of your heart. There are multiple causes of aortic stenosis, including congenital heart defects, calcification of the valve and infection. If severe and left untreated, aortic stenosis can weaken your heart and lead to heart failure. Aortic stenosis is treatable, and options include:
- Surgical aortic valve replacement
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement
- The Ross procedure
- Current clinical trials for patients with aortic stenosis
Aortic regurgitation occurs when your aortic valve does not seal properly, allowing blood to flow backwards into your heart as it relaxes. This can cause pressure and fluid to build up in your heart and lungs, which can eventually cause heart failure. The aortic valve can start leaking for multiple reasons, including enlargement of the aorta itself (aortic aneurysm) and infection. Aortic regurgitation is treatable, and some options include:
- Aortic valve replacement
- Valve-sparing aortic root replacement
- Alternatives to valve replacement (Ross, Ozaki)
Calcium build-up, infection and congenital heart defects can cause the mitral valve to open incompletely. This condition, mitral stenosis, can increase the blood pressure in your heart and lungs, leading to difficulty breathing and abnormal heart rhythms. Depending on a patient’s individual history and valve anatomy, The Heart Valve Program team can often treat mitral stenosis with a catheter-based procedure, however valve replacement may also be required. Some options include:
- Balloon mitral valvuloplasty
- Mitral valve replacement
When the mitral valve fails to close and seal completely, blood flows backwards inside of the heart instead of out to your body. This condition, known as mitral valve regurgitation (or mitral insufficiency), is one of the most common forms of heart valve disease. Severe mitral valve regurgitation can cause the heart to enlarge over time and pump blood less effectively. As a result, patients can develop heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms and experience symptoms such as shortness of breath. Members of the Heart Valve Program offer multiple ways to treat mitral regurgitation, including:
Tricuspid Valve Stenosis and Regurgitation
Tricuspid valve disease can cause the valve to either open or close incorrectly. This can happen due to a primary problem with the valve itself or as a result of problems with other heart valves. Tricuspid valve disease can cause your body to accumulate fluid and can eventually cause liver and other organ damage. Tricuspid valve disease was treated with medications alone for many years, but we are beginning to learn that aggressively treating tricuspid valve disease with surgery or transcatheter procedures may improve patients’ symptoms. Members of the Heart Valve Program offer several different ways to teat tricuspid valve disease (see below) and are actively enrolling patients in clinical trials focused on the tricuspid valve.
Pulmonic Valve Stenosis and Regurgitation
Pulmonic valve disease usually occurs due to congenital heart problems (heart disease you are born with) or infection. Consequently, pulmonic valve disease should be cared for by surgeons and cardiologists with experience in congenital heart disease. Members of the Heart Valve Program include world leaders in the management of adult congenital heart disease and offer multiple options for treating the pulmonic valve. Some options may include:
- Surgical pulmonic valve replacement
- Transcatheter pulmonic valve replacement
- Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
A World-Class Team
Under the leadership of Jonathan Passeri, MD, and Serguei Melnitchouk, MD, the Heart Valve Program is made up of experts in the evaluation and treatment of valve diseases.
- Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Assistant Physician, Cardiology Division, MGH
- Director, Interventional Cardiology Research
- Associate Director, Echocardiography, Division of Cardiology.
- Director Structural Heart Disease Program
- Director, Healthcare Transformation Lab
- Co-Director, Mass General Thoracic Aortic Center
- Assistant Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School
- Senior physician, Cardiac Ultrasound Laboratory
- Cardiac Surgeon
- Co-Director, Heart Valve Program
- Co-Director, Heart Valve Program
- Director, Interventional Echocardiography
- Co-Director of the MGH PAD Program
- Department of Medicine
Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well-being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.
An illustration of the heart's anatomy, showing the arteries, valves and ventricles.
What to expect before, during and after your surgery at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
Dolly’s Story: Getting Back on Her Feet
When mitral valve disease started to affect the quality of Dolly Lakkis' life, she turned to a team of Mass General specialists. Dolly’s doctors repaired her damaged heart valve with minimally invasive surgery, that got her back on her feet—and back on the dance floor—as quickly as possible.
- Dec | 21 | 2021
Blum Center Program: Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Mental Health, and Resiliency Over the Holidays
Anxiety and depression can significantly affect quality of life for adults with congenital heart disease. In this presentation from December 21, 2021, psychologist Dr. Tina Luberto discusses resiliency, mental health and how to live your best life.
- Aug | 12 | 2021
Exercise for adults with congenital heart disease poses many unique challenges. In this presentation from August 12, 2021, Sherrin Gallagher, ACNP, AACC, reviews the importance of exercise and current guidelines for adults with congenital heart disease.
- Jul | 20 | 2021
In this presentation from July 20, 2021, Dr. Doreen DeFaria Yeh reviews the specific medical issues that develop among children and adults born with a complex congenital heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot.
- Press Release
- Jul | 8 | 2021
Las puntuaciones de riesgo genético podrían mejorar la identificación clínica de los pacientes con mayor riesgo de infarto
Un equipo descubrió recientemente que la aplicación de la PRS puede identificar a los pacientes de riesgo que actualmente no se identifican mediante las evaluaciones clínicas estándar.
- Jun | 18 | 2021
Not even a global pandemic, with all its difficult diversions and delays, could stop the nurses of Ellison 9 from staying on track with a project timeline they had set before the COVID-19 outbreak.