The seriousness of the leaking heart valve depends on how much of it is interfering with the flow of blood. It is possible for it to get away without any notice or can cause minor to severe health problems. Treatments include surgical repair, medicines, and replacement of the leaky valve. Observation is the key to noticing the presence of a leaking heart valve. It is also the role player in penning the right approach to treatment.
Leaking Heart Valve
The heart consists of four valves – bicuspid, pulmonic, mitral, and aortic valve. Apart from the mitral valve, the remaining three valves contain three flaps that open and close to send the blood in one direction alone. Any of the valves can become leaky.
Symptoms of Leaky Heart Valve
In general, a person may or may not find any signs even if they have a leaky heart valve. There are cases where even healthy people accustomed to one or more leaky heart valves without any symptoms.
Symptoms surface only when the condition is severe, causing an obstruction to the flow of the blood. In such circumstances, the symptoms experienced are similar to that of congestive heart failure along with:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling of legs, feet, and ankles
- Swelling of the abdomen due to fluid retention
- Loss of memory
- Increased palpitations.
What are the Causes Of Leaky Heart Valve?
The causes of a leaky heart valve are:
- High blood pressure
- Marfan syndrome
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Infection of the heart muscle.
What Can Be Done For A Leaking Heart Valve?
It is essential for a doctor to understand the situation before confirming the presence of a leaky heart valve. Physician performs the diagnosis using a stethoscope, which helps in listening to the heart murmur and abnormal sounds in both the heart and the lungs. Additionally, the doctor asks the patient to undergo ultrasound or echocardiogram for final confirmation.
Depending on the results obtained from the echocardiogram and physical examination along with the symptoms experienced by the individual, the doctor determines whether one is suffering from a leaky heart valve.
Treating Leaky Heart Valves
Before proceeding with the treatment, the doctor confirms the presence of the leaky heart valve and the affected valve along with its severity. The following will be helpful in treating leaky valves:
For Aortic Regurgitation – if the doctor assesses the presence of aortic regurgitation, it is possible to cure the same by using blood pressure medicines such as vasodilators. Treating congestive heart failure using diuretics is also helpful in curing aortic regurgitation. If the situation is severe, the doctor recommends surgery where one repairs or replaces the leaking aortic valve.
For Mitral Regurgitation – people with mitral regurgitation may or may not require treatment. However, doctors monitor the progression before recommending daily medication. The reason is that regular medication can cause heart failure in such a case. Surgery is helpful for a few people. However, choosing the right time to operate becomes difficult, as mitral regurgitation progresses slowly.
For Tricuspid Regurgitation – pulmonary hypertension causes moderate to severe effect on pulmonary valve. The reason behind the occurrence of high blood pressure is many, and the primary host is congestive heart failure. Water pills and diuretics are useful in treating body swelling or edema. Surgical process of repairing the valve helps in correcting the leakage.
For Pulmonary Regurgitation – a few healthy people may have pulmonic regurgitation. There is no specific treatment for pulmonary regurgitation. Attending to the underlying cause will be helpful in treating the leakage.
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