Valvular heart disease treatment in Northwest Florida

The Northwest Florida Heart Institute at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, is proud to offer the Structural Heart Program. This program focuses on treating patients with heart valve disease. Our program provides a team approach to the treatment of heart valve disease to increase positive outcomes for our patients.

For more information about the Structural Heart Program, please call (850) 862-3194.

The heart's function is dependent upon its four valves: mitral valve, aortic valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve. When functioning properly, the heart's valves are responsible for facilitating blood flow and delivering oxygen throughout the body.

Our program brings together healthcare professionals involved in every area of cardiac care to treat disease of the heart valves, including:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Diagnostic technicians
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program coordinator

Heart valve conditions we treat

Our program focuses on treating valve conditions affecting the left side of the heart, where valve disease is most common. This means we offer advanced care for patients with valve disease of the aortic valves.

Aortic valve regurgitation

Regurgitation occurs when either the aortic valve does not close properly, allowing blood to leak through the valve when it should not. For example, picture a door frame. If the door frame becomes stretched, the door is unable to close and will swing through the frame.

If the aortic valve becomes stretched or misshapen, it is unable to close correctly.

Aortic valve regurgitation may be caused by a congenital abnormality of the valve, an aortic aneurysm, degeneration of the valve or an infection.

Aortic valve stenosis

Aortic valve stenosis occurs when there is an abnormal narrowing of the valve that does not allow enough blood to flow through the valve. This subsequently means that there is not proper blood supply to the lungs and rest of the body.

Aortic valve stenosis causes may include progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve, wear and tear of the aortic valve in older patients and scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult.

Treatment options for heart valve disease

Treatment for heart valve disease differs from patient to patient and depends on the severity of a patient's symptoms and how well their heart functions. For some patients, this may mean medication management and close observation by a physician. However, sometimes heart surgery is needed to repair or replace a valve.

For patients with aortic regurgitation and aortic stenosis, valve replacement may be needed. Mechanical and tissue valves are available for patients undergoing a valve replacement. Our surgeons discuss what options are available with each patient.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

Not all patients with severe aortic stenosis are candidates for open-heart surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve. For these patients, TAVR may be an option. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that allows a new valve to be placed without needing to remove the old, damaged valve.

Symptoms of heart valve disease

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for heart valve disease:

  • Chest pain and pressure, often described as a feeling of squeezing or heaviness
  • Fainting, dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Heart murmur heard by a physician
  • Shortness of breath or breathing too hard
  • Swelling of the legs

Visiting the Structural Heart Program

Our program's services are offered at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center at 1000 Mar Walt Drive in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. You can also schedule an appointment with the Northwest Florida Heart Institute by calling (850) 862-3194 or by visiting