The aorta is the main artery (blood vessel) that carries blood out of your heart and into your body. The aortic valve allows blood to flow from your heart into the aorta.
Aortic valve regurgitation (aortic regurgitation) is a disorder that occurs when the aortic valve leaks (regurgitates) each time the left ventricle (lower heart chamber) relaxes. This allows blood to flow improperly — in two directions instead of one.
Normally, oxygen-rich blood flows out through the aorta into your body. A defective valve allows blood to flow backward from the aorta into the left ventricle. This causes your heart to work harder to make up for the blood that is leaking back into the ventricle. Ventricle walls may thicken, making your heart muscle pump less effectively. Eventually, your heart may not pump enough to meet your body’s need for blood, leading to a serious condition known as congestive heart failure.
Causes of Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Causes of aortic regurgitation include aging processes, which can weaken your valve tissue. Other causes can include high blood pressure, bacterial infection, untreated syphilis or a past injury.
Symptoms of Aortic Valve Regurgitation
You may have no symptoms of aortic regurgitation if you have mild valve disorder. If you have more severe aortic regurgitation, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Fatigue and weakness, especially when you increase activity
- Shortness of breath during exercise or when you lie down
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Chest pain (angina), discomfort or tightness, which may get worse during exercise
- Fainting or feeling light-headed
- Irregular pulse (arrhythmia)
- Heart murmur (abnormal sounds heard during a heartbeat, caused by difficult blood flow)
- Palpitations (feeling a rapid, fluttering heartbeat)
Treatment of Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Your doctor may prescribe medical therapies to treat aortic regurgitation. Medication can help reduce blood clotting and lower your stroke risk, but you may still require valve repair or replacement. At the Orlando Health Heart Valve Center, we provide many less invasive alternatives to traditional open surgery.
Minimally invasive surgical procedures are less invasive than general or open-heart surgery. For certain more complex conditions, surgeons may perform a combination of procedures in high-tech, fully equipped hybrid surgical suites.
At Orlando Health Heart Valve Center, our team will evaluate your condition, collaborate across disciplines as needed, and develop the best treatment plan for you.
To contact us or schedule an appointment, call 321.841.4324.