Valve disease most often strikes the mitral valve, which controls blood flow between the left atrium and the left ventricle, or the aortic valve (most prevalent type), which controls blood flow between the left ventricle and the aorta, the large artery that supplies blood to the rest of the body. Valvular heart disease caused about 20,000 deaths in 2003. The total mentioned mortality (i.e., underlying or contributing number of deaths) is about 42,500. There were 95,000 first-listed hospital discharges in 2003 for valvular heart disease. An estimated 95,000 inpatient valve procedures were performed in the United States in 2003.
The guidelines discuss evaluating patients with heart murmurs, preventing and treating endocarditis, managing valve disease in pregnancy, and treating patients with concomitant coronary artery disease, as well as more specialized issues regarding specific valve lesions.