What's aortic valve regurgitation?
Aortic regurgitation is leakage of blood through the aortic valve each time the left ventricle relaxes.
A leaking (or regurgitant) aortic valve allows blood to flow in two directions. Oxygen-rich blood flows out through the aorta to the body — as it should — but some flows backwards from the aorta into the left ventricle when the ventricle relaxes.
What happens during aortic regurgitation?
The heart will have to do more work to compensate for the blood leak back into the left ventricle. The walls of the ventricle sometimes thicken (hypertrophy), and a thickened heart muscle is a less effective pump. Eventually, the heart maybe unable to pump enough to meet the body’s need for blood, leading to heart failure.
What are the symptoms of aortic valve regurgitation?
Mild aortic regurgitation may produce few symptoms.
People with more severe aortic regurgitation may notice heart palpitations, chest pain, fatigue, or shortness of breath. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing when lying down, weakness, fainting, or swollen ankles and feet.