Is Leaky Heart Valve Dangerous?
Leaky heart valve should be treated according to the doctor's recommendations. It may become a case of medical emergency if left untreated. It may lead to heart failure or even stroke. The patient may have a risk of sudden cardiac arrest, which may eventually lead to death. Thus, treatment of leaky heart valve is essential to prevent medical emergency.
What Happens When A Patient Has A Leaky Heart Valve?
Generally a person has four heart valves namely the mitral valve, aortic valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve. Leakage can occur in any of the heart valves. When a valve has a leak, the blood pumped by the heart which is otherwise supposed to move forward, actually leaks back through the valve due to the leakage. The medical term for leaky valve is valve regurgitation.
What are the Symptoms Of Leaky Heart Valve?
Some patients may not have any symptoms of leaky valve at all, while some may have symptoms even while having a minor leak. It is important to go for routine checkup to the doctor whether or not the patient is symptomatic. The general and the most common of the symptoms include-
- Feeling of tiredness and fatigue during involvement in any form of activity.
- The patient may become prone to water retention due to which the ankles and feet may swell up.
- The patient may complain of frequent urge to urinate.
- There may be shortness of breath while the patient lies down.
- The patient may have heart palpitations and fluttering heartbeat.
- There may be heart murmur which can be heard with the help of a stethoscope.
- The patient may be prone to coughing while lying down.
- The patient may complain of feeling dizzy without any reason.
- There may be a feeling of chest pain or feeling of something heavy on the chest.
- The patient may faint during any form of exertion caused by any activity.
What are the Complications of Having a Leaky Heart Valve?
There are various complications of the leaky valve and their rate increases if such a condition is left untreated. Such include-
Enlarged Heart Problems: Due to the improper flow of blood required for blood circulation, the heart may pump blood even harder to compensate the back flow through the valve. This creates a pressure on the heart which gives rise to an enlarged heart. Medically such a condition is called cardiomegaly.
Blood Clots: Such a condition of enlarged heart increased the chance of blood clots in the blood vessels thereby blocking the pathways of blood flow.
Water Accumulation in Lungs: Enlarged heart can also lead to accumulation of water in the lungs.
Edema: The body of the patient may become prone to edema.
Stroke: Chances of stroke and heart failure increased considerably due to enlarged heart.
What are the Treatment Options of a Leaky Heart Valve?
In minor cases of leaky heart valve, surgery may not be required. However, the doctor may ask the patient to adopt lifestyle changes and give special attention to his diet. Medications given in leaky heart valve include those to lower the blood pressure and prevent blood blots. Major cases of leaky heart valves have to be treated with valve repair or replacement surgery. Such surgeries are done by expert group of surgeons and are a form of major heart surgery.