Heart Valve Diseases Symptoms
Call your doctor if your child has problems eating. If your child has a blue skin tone, weak pulse, or signs of shock, call 9-1-1 right away.
Symptoms can vary based on the type of heart valve disease. Symptoms in newborns are also different from symptoms in adults. Some symptoms are related to heart failure, which can be caused by problems with the heart valves.
Symptoms in newborns or young children
Signs of a heart valve condition may be present at birth. They can be seen as symptoms or may be detected during a newborn screening. Sometimes, signs of a heart valve defect may not appear until weeks or even months after birth.
Symptoms can include:
- Not gaining weight or growing as they should: You may notice problems eating. Some children may get sweaty from the effort of eating.
- Blue skin tone, especially the lips, fingers, and toes
- Low levels of oxygen in the blood: Your doctor may find this using a pulse oximetry screening test.
- Pale skin, rapid pulse or breathing, or cool, clammy hands: These are signs of shock, which is a medical emergency in newborns.
- Weak pulse
Symptoms in adults
Symptoms of heart valve diseases that occur with older age may happen slowly. Many people mistake early signs of heart valve diseases — such as getting breathless while exercising or during typical activities — as normal signs of aging. You may also have no symptoms at all.
When symptoms of heart valve diseases occur, they can include:
- Breathing problems, including rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, especially when climbing stairs, moving fast, or otherwise exerting yourself
- Chest pain or discomfort, also called angina
- Dizziness, fainting when standing up, or a short-term loss of consciousness
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Fever, which may signal an infection that can lead to heart inflammation (called endocarditis)
- Feeling like your heart is beating too fast or skipping a beat
- Heart murmur, an unusual sound that is heard between heartbeats
- Swelling around the eyes, ankles, or abdomen
These symptoms are similar to other conditions. Your doctor can do a test to look at your heart, called an echocardiogram, to diagnose a heart valve problem.