Aortic Regurgitation

Aortic regurgitation occurs when the aortic valve—the valve that keeps blood from flowing back into the left ventricle once it’s pumped into the aorta—doesn’t shut properly. In turn, this allows blood to “regurgitate” back into the left ventricle.

Aortic regurgitation is caused by a malformation of the aortic valve. This can be caused by several factors including:

•    Syphilis
•    Aortic dissection
•    Reiter’s syndrome
•    Marfans syndrome
•    High blood pressure
•    Ankylosing spondylitis
•    Other diseases or disorders

•    Infections such as rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis
•    Bicuspid aortic valve is a disorder that exists at birth. The valve has 2 flaps instead of the vital three flaps.

Although some people with aortic regurgitation may not detect symptoms for years. Therefore, symptoms occur gradually or suddenly and may include:

•    Fatigue
•    Fainting
•    Weakness
•    Angina pectoris
•    Heart palpitations•    Heart arrhythmias •    Shortness of breath
•    Edema—retention of fluid in certain parts of the body

When the condition isn’t severe and symptoms are mild or nonexistent, a doctor might simply monitor the patient through regular check-ups. If the condition worsens, medications may be prescribed to help regulate the heart’s rhythm, help the heart’s pumping ability, and to control the buildup of body fluids. In serious cases, surgery may be required to replace the diseased valve with an artificial valve.