Is a Leaky Heart Valve Life Threatening?

Heart contains four different valves, which include-

  • Tricuspid valve
  • Mitral valve
  • Aortic valve and
  • Pulmonic or pulmonary valve.

These valves further contain flaps, which open to allow the flow of blood in a particular direction, as it moves from heart chambers. After this, valves close to prevent the flow of blood in the backward direction within the chamber, which is just left. Each of the mentioned valves comes with three different flaps, excluding the mitral valve, as it has only two flaps.

Any of the mentioned four valves may become leaky. This indicates that once your heart squeezes and pumps the blood in the forward, a few amount of blood will leak in the backward direction from the valve. Leakage taking place from the respective valve referred as valve regurgitation.

Is a Leaky Heart Valve Life Threatening?

Is a Leaky Heart Valve Life Threatening?

Severity with Valve Regurgitation/Leaky Heart Valve

Severity associated with the problem of valve regurgitation or leaky heart valve depends on the exact type of valve, in which the problem takes place. These are

Aortic Valve Regurgitation/Leaky Aortic Valve

Most of the aortic valve regurgitation/leaky aortic valve patients require only observation from doctors with time. People dealing with severe symptoms may sometimes get relief from specific blood pressure medications called vasodilators.

In addition, few doctors recommend for alternative type of drug treatment to deal with congestive heart failure, like for instance diuretics helpful in dealing with severe aortic regurgitation/leaky aortic valve. When the problem becomes severe, the patients have to undergo with the surgical procedure where surgeons repair or replace the leaky aortic valve.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation/Leaky Mitral Valve

A few people dealing with the problem of leaky mitral valve often do not require any treatment; instead, doctors go with the standard approach of observing the patient regularly. Moreover, experts do not recommend for any daily medication to treat mitral regurgitation/leaky mitral valve until and unless patients experience any significant type of heart failure. However, in some cases, surgical procedures associated with replacement or repairing of a leaky mitral valve may result in drastic improvement in patients. Since the regurgitation in this case progresses slowly, deciding about surgery may be difficult.

Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation/Leaky Tricuspid Valve

Medicines may not sometimes become effective to treat the problem of tricuspid regurgitation/leaky tricuspid valve. However, the water pills referred as diuretics may help in relieving swelling of one’s body or edema problem taken place because of congestive heart failure.

Tricuspid valve is repairable during the surgical procedure to correct different types of leaky heart valves. Surgical repair associated with tricuspid valve works usually in a better way than its replacement. On the other side, the surgery for the replacement of leaky tricuspid valve with itself rather than with aortic or mitral valve is recommendable in only rare cases.

Pulmonary or Pulmonic Valve Regurgitation/Leaky Pulmonary Valve

Pulmonary or pulmonic valve regurgitation/leaky pulmonary valve usually do not require any treatment. Treating the patient based on his underlying medical condition constitutes the best possible approach in this case.


Every individual with the problem of leaky heart valve (irrespective of the type) may obtain benefits from physical exercise, such as walking or jogging. However, before you should involve in any contact or competitive sports, you should discuss with your cardiologist, especially if you are suffering from severe leaky heart valve. Do not involve in smoking or drinking activity and maintaining a normal body weight are essential for patients of leaky heart valves.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 19, 2018

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