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Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease

Your physician may suspect valve disease if you experience shortness of breath (dyspnea) or decreased exercise tolerance, weakening of the heart muscle (heart failure), chest pain (angina), fainting (syncope), or dizziness.

The two valves that are most often affected with disease are the Mitral Valve and Aortic Valve. When your physician suspects disease in either of these valves you may be referred to and evaluated by our team of experts in the Kettering Health Network Structural Heart Clinic at Kettering Medical Center. While under the care of our Structural Heart Team you may experience the following diagnostic procedures:

Non-Invasive Testing

Chest X-ray utilizes X-rays and a detector to create a two dimensional image of the heart, lungs, bones, and other structures within the chest. This test is often utilized with other exams to help your doctor confirm a diagnosis.

This diagnostic exam utilizes X-rays to generate three dimensional images of the heart, organs, and other tissues within the body. An X-ray tube and detector rotate around the body to gather information that a computer transforms into separate slices.

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging utilizes a magnetic field and radio waves to obtain three dimensional images of the heart. This test is used to evaluate the anatomy and function of the heart and is helpful in patients with suspected congenital heart disease. Unlike X-rays, Cardiac MRI does not use ionizing radiation.

Also known as an echo, an echocardiogram is an ultrasound procedure that utilizes sound waves to create images of your heart. This test allows your doctor to see the size, shape, heart valve movement, heart chambers, and the pumping action of the heart.

Exercise Treadmill Test (non-imaging) is an exercise test that monitors the heart rate and rhythm over a period of time, while you are walking on a treadmill. During exercise treadmill testing your heart rhythm, heart rate, and blood pressure are monitored to identify possible coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms, effectiveness of your heart treatment plan, and/or assist your doctor in developing a safe and adequate exercise plan for you.

A multi-gated acquisition (MUGA) or cardiac blood pool scan is a nuclear medicine scan that measures the flow of blood through the heart. The test shows how much blood is pumped through the ventricles on each heartbeat. The MUGA scan helps show abnormalities in the size and function of the ventricles.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo, an ultrasound procedure that utilizes sound waves to create images of your heart. The procedure uses a long, thin tube called an endoscope to guide the ultrasound transducer down the esophagus. It allows your physician to see pictures of the heart without the ribs and lungs in the way. A TEE is done when your physician needs a closer look at your heart or does not have enough information from a regular echo.

Heart Catheterization

Cardiac or heart catheterization is a medical procedure that cardiologists use to evaluate the heart function and diagnose cardiovascular conditions. During a heart cath procedure, a long narrow plastic tube or catheter is inserted in an artery in either the groin or the wrist. Pictures of the heart arteries are made with the use of x-ray and the injection of x-ray dye into the arteries. If a blockage is found, intervention is needed.