Your heart valves

You have four heart valves. Each one makes sure your blood flows in one direction in and out of the heart. The mitral valve and tricuspid valve control blood flow from the top chambers of your heart to the lower chambers. The aortic valve and pulmonary valve control blood flow out of your heart. It’s the opening and closing of valves you hear every time you hear your heartbeat.


If a valve can’t open properly, it can restrict how much blood can flow through. If a valve can’t close properly, blood can leak back in the wrong direction. Both problems - a narrowed valve or a leaky valve - put extra pressure on your heart to pump harder, or to pump more blood. Other things can affect your valves too, including infection.


You might experience shortness of breath or tiredness. Or you might not have symptoms at all. Our consultants will help you find the right diagnosis, and the right treatment - whether it’s medicine or a valve replacement procedure.

Meet a team of world-leading heart valve specialists

No matter what heart valve issue you’re experiencing, at our hospitals you’ll meet someone who’s published research on how to treat it. They might even have been the first person to perform and perfect the treatment you need. Our consultants have been performing transcatheter aortic valve implantations (TAVI) since the procedure was pioneered in 2007, for instance. They also train surgeons across the world on how to perform keyhole valve surgeries.

Finding the right diagnosis and treatment for you

Creating images of your heart

Your consultant might recommend tests like a CT or an echocardiogram, an ultrasound scan. Our technicians use the latest technology to create 3D images of your heart.

Taking medicine

Your consultant might prescribe medicine to lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate, stop clots forming or reduce the volume of blood the heart has to pump.

MitraClip and TAVI procedures

MitraClip and transcatheter aortic valve implantation are minimally invasive alternatives to heart surgery. Both procedures involve making a small incision, usually in the groin. With only a few small incisions, there’s less scarring, and a faster recovery.

Heart valve surgery

Your consultant might recommend surgery to repair or replace your damaged valve. It could be open heart surgery or minimal access surgery, if it’s right for you. 

Modelling how a valve replacement will fit, sit and work

FEops technology uses clinical images to build a computer model of an individual patient’s heart valve. It then models how a replacement valve device will fit, sit and work in that patient’s heart. It can model what happens if the valve is a different size or sits in a different position. Consultants can use it to predict complications – and so avoid them.

TAVIs are transforming care for heart valve disease

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve.

A team of cardiologists, anaesthetists, nurses and surgeons guide a tube from the top of the leg to the heart. This acts as a railroad, delivering the new heart valve to exactly the right place. When it reaches its destination, it’s unfurled, or expanded into place using a balloon — without a single stitch.

Leading the UK for minimal access valve replacements

A minimal access mitral valve replacement needs a 1cm incision for a camera, and a 4cm incision big enough to thread the new valve through. Small incisions mean a fast recovery for patients, but a highly complex procedure for surgeons. This is why only around 5 in 100 UK valve procedures are performed like this. Our surgeons perform around two thirds of all minimal access procedures in the UK.

Our cardiac hospitals

Our hospitals are internationally recognised. Our cardiac department brings together these different sites, our consultants, nurses, teams and technology. It’s all these elements combined that allow us to deliver outstanding care.

Request a cardiac appointment

If heart symptoms are affecting your quality of life, we’re here to help. Our heart team is available to book an appointment with a cardiac specialist.

Call us today

020 7616 4988
back to top