Aortic Valve Regurgitation

Understanding your health conditions is key to feeling your best.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

Your blood is supposed to follow a one-way path through your heart. It flows in through the top chamber (the left atrium), down to the bottom chamber (the left ventricle), and then out to your body. Blood is pumped to your aorta (largest artery) through the aortic valve. This valve acts like a gatekeeper, closing after each beat to prevent blood from coming back into the heart. If this valve doesn’t close all the way, blood can actually seep back (or regurgitate) into the heart. This is called aortic valve regurgitation. If you have this condition, your heart has to work harder. Over time, you may feel faint, overly tired or short of breath. It can also lead to heart failure.

Aortic valve regurgitation can happen suddenly or, more commonly, gradually over time. Many people do not have symptoms at first. There are many reasons you might develop this condition, but it is more likely if you have valve damage, untreated high blood pressure or certain diseases.

Treatment may include no treatment at all, medications, or surgery to repair or replace your valve. You should also commit to making lifestyle changes that help keep your heart healthy. Use this condition center to learn more about living with aortic valve regurgitation. You can also read about the latest research, create a list of questions to ask your doctor and much more.

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