It can be possible or impossible to notice the presence of a leaky heart valve. In other situations, a leaking heart valve can develop minor or severe symptoms. The severity of the condition relies on the case and how much it is interfering with the blood flow. Treatment for curing leaking heart valve includes surgical repair, use of medicines, or surgical replacement. Monitoring the situation of the patient is the standard approach.
What are the Symptoms of a Leaking Heart Valve?
A leaky heart valve does not display any symptoms when it is in its initial stage. Even in healthy people, one or two valves have slight leakages. Only when the leakage is severe and impairs the conventional blood flow from the heart, the individual notices the symptoms. In such situations, the leaky heart valve causes congestive heart failure along with:
- Shortness of breath.
- Fluid retention at several parts of the body.
Other symptoms of a leaking heart valve may include:
- Heart palpitations.
- Increase in heartbeat.
Even if there is a presence of valve regurgitation, an individual may not suffer from any symptoms.
Understanding Leaky Heart Valve
The human heart consists of four valves – aortic valve, pulmonary valve, tricuspid valve, and mitral value. All the valves consist of flaps, usually three in number, that allows the blood flow in one direction. For every heartbeat, the valves open to let the blood flow and close immediately to barricade the flow into the chamber of the heart. The mitral valve consists of only two flaps.
Any valve out of the four can become leaky. It means that the blood that left the valve pumps the blood forward while there is a little leakage that causes the blood to flow back into the heart. The term provided to the leakage of the blood from the valve is valve regurgitation.
It is possible to diagnose the presence of a leaky heart valve with the help of stethoscope, which produces abnormal sounds such as heart murmur. Another way to diagnose the presence is by obtaining results from echocardiogram, also known as heart ultrasound. Aided by the symptoms explained by the individual along with the examination result, a doctor will access the severity of the leaky heart valve condition.
The Causes of Leaky Heart Valve
The following are the causes of a leaky heart valve:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Marfan syndrome.
- Rheumatic heart disease.
- Endocarditis, which is a disease of the heart valve.
- Presence of a bicuspid valve where the valve has only two flaps instead of three.
Causes of the Leaky Heart Valve In Mitral Valve
The following are the causes of a leaky heart valve in mitral valve:
- Rheumatic heart disease.
- Enlargement of heart due to coronary artery disease, hypertension, and other underlying causes.
- Improper closing of the valve known as mitral valve prolapse.
A few patients suffering from leaky mitral valve do not require any treatment. The doctors place such patients under observation and monitor with the help of the screening tests. Depending on the symptoms and situation, the patient can receive a surgery that will bring significant improvement in the performance. However, as the regurgitation is slow in such a case, it is difficult for the surgeon to determine when to operate.
Living with Leaky Heart Valve
As it is common even for a healthy individual to have a one or two leaking valves, bringing improvement is possible by indulging in exercises. For those who wish to indulge in contact sports or strenuous workouts, it is preferable to speak with the heart-related doctor.
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