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Heart Valve Regurgitation

Heart valve regurgitation is another term for leaky heart valves and occurs when the heart’s valves don’t close tightly. This allows blood to flow backwards so the heart must work harder to pump blood to various parts of the body.

There are four types of heart valve regurgitation:

There are four types of heart valve regurgitation:

  • Mitral valve regurgitation is when the mitral valve doesn’t close tightly so the blood flows back to the heart.
  • Aortic valve regurgitation may occur due to congenital abnormalities or an infection of the heart valve.
  • Pulmonary valve regurgitation is rare and caused by high pulmonary pressure.
  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation is found frequently when the right ventricle is enlarged.
  • Mitral valve regurgitation may be caused by:
    • Heart valve prolapses into the left atrium
    • Enlarged left ventricle
    • Infection of the valve
    • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Aortic valve regurgitation may be caused by:
    • Heart valve has only two leaflets instead of three
    • Hypertension
    • Infection of the heart valve
    • Marfan syndrome
    • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Pulmonary valve regurgitation may be caused by:
    • High pulmonary pressure
    • Heart surgery in children
  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation may be caused by:
    • High pulmonary pressure
    • Pulmonary edema

Heart valve regurgitation can be mild or severe and mild cases may not cause any symptoms. Severe heart valve regurgitation may cause the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired after normal activities
  • Chest pain, heart palpitations, swelling in the legs
  • Arrhythmia
  • Lightheadedness, loss of consciousness
  • Chest tightness, like with pulmonary edema, and unable to lie flat
  • Patient’s medical history
  • Physical examination and cardiac assessment with electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram (echo) to check the condition of the heart valve.
  • Avoiding foods high in salt and sodium.
  • Pacemaker implantation if the left ventricle isn’t working.
  • Medication to treat pulmonary edema, vasodilators for aortic valve regurgitation.
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)
  • Heart valve replacement surgery
  • Blood clots that can travel to the lungs or brain
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Cardiomegaly because the heart has to work harder than normal
  • Arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Sudden death
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly, but at an appropriate intensity for your health.
  • Maintain a normal body weight.
  • Eat nutritious meals and avoid foods high in sugar, fat, and sodium.
  • Undergo regular health check-ups and keep all doctor appointments.
  • If you experience chest pain or tightness or any other cardiac symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

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