What is aortic insufficiency?
Aortic insufficiency is a heart valve disease in which the aortic valve does not close tightly. This allows blood to flow from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (a chamber of the heart).
Aortic insufficiency causes the heart becomes less able to supply enough blood to the body.
How common is aortic insufficiency?
Aortic insufficiency occurs in 10.000 people from the age 30 to 60 years old. It commonly affects more males than females. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Signs & Symptoms
What are some signs and symptoms of aortic insufficiency?
The condition often has no symptoms for many years. Symptoms may come on slowly or suddenly. They can include:
- Chest pain;
- Difficulty breathing (especially when lying down);
- Shortness of breath;
- Palpitations (sensation of the heart beating);
- Swelling of the feet, legs, or abdomen;
- Weakness that is more likely to occur with activity;
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes aortic insufficiency?
The cause is a defective aortic valve or enlarged bottom part of the aorta.
Infections such as rheumatic fever (usually from streptococcal infections) and endocarditis (bacterial infection in the heart) affect the valve.
Congenital abnormalities such as bicuspid valve (two valve sections instead of three) are a common cause.
Direct blunt injury (e.g., the chest hitting a steering wheel in an accident), connective tissue disorders such as Marfan’s disease, and hypertension can also lead to an enlarged aorta and subsequent aortic insufficiency.
What increases your risk for aortic insufficiency?
There are many risk factors for aortic insufficiency, such as:
- Damaged aortic valve: endocarditis, rheumatic fever, or aortic valve stenosis can also cause the blood to flow back from the aorta to the heart.
- Hypertension may lead to enlarged bottom part of the aorta.
- Congenital abnormalities.
- Other diseases: Marfan’s disease or ankylosing spondylitis.
- Age: middle aged people have a higher risk.
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
What are your treatment options for aortic insufficiency?
You may not need treatment if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. However, you will need to see a health care provider for get regular echocardiograms.
If your blood pressure is high, you may need to take blood pressure medicines to help slow the worsening of aortic regurgitation.
ACE inhibitor drugs and diuretics (water pills) may be prescribed for more moderate or severe symptoms.
The doctor may also recommend referral to a thoracic surgeon in anticipation of future need for surgery.
What are the most common tests for aortic insufficiency?
The doctor makes a diagnosis from a physical examination.
For severe insufficiency with effects on the heart’s function, the doctor may suggest:
- Blood flowing through the valve creates a heart murmur (extra or unusual sound during the heartbeat) that the doctor hears with the stethoscope.
- Hard pulses in the arms and legs.
- Low diastolic blood pressure.
- Signs of fluid in the lungs.
Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies help manage aortic insufficiency?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with aortic insufficiency:
- Regularly perform echocardiography to monitor your condition for symtomps.
- If you have congenital defects or a history of surgery, you have to take prescribed antibiotics before performing any surgical procedure or dental treatment.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Print edition. Page 5.
Aortic Insufficiency. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000179.htm. Accessed July 24, 2015.
Review Date: August 16, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017