n South African Medical Journal - An approach to the diagnosis and management of valvular heart disease : article

Volume 106, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Valvular heart disease poses a common yet difficult problem in everyday clinical practice. A thorough clinical evaluation with basic common investigations such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a chest radiograph (CXR) remains the cornerstone of diagnosis. Echo-cardiography and more invasive testing, if needed, are usually performed at specialist level to confirm the diagnosis, assess severity and assist in definitive decision-making. The causes and clinical, ECG and CXR features of the common valve lesions are described. Patients with symptomatic valve lesions should be referred for specialist assessment. In most cases, medical therapy serves as a bridge to definitive mechanical or surgical therapy.

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