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Symptoms of a Leaking Aortic Valve

written by: angiem1981 • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/28/2010

Symptoms of a leaking aortic valve may not be apparent in all individuals. As a matter of fact, some may not experience them at all. However, if you believe that you could be suffering from this condition, there are a few signs and symptoms you may want to watch for.

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    Common Symptoms of a Leaking Aortic Valve

    There can be multiple symptoms associated with leaking of the aortic valve. These may include shortness of breath, weight gain and edema (swelling). Although many patients believe that swelling related to disorders of the heart are located in the lower extremities, such as the heart, this isn’t always so. The edema that can occur with this condition can be located in a variety of areas of the body, including the abdomen, hands and the feet. The weight gain is often rather rapid and it is possible to gain one or more pounds in one day alone. Dizziness, weakness and syncope (fainting) may also occur. Other indications of a leaking aortic valve can include heart palpitations and chest discomfort. These changes may be noted as what seems to be a very rapid heart beat and/or pain in some individuals.

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    Why Does It Cause These Particular Symptoms?

    A leaking aortic valve is considered a type of heart disease and can affect other bodily systems. When the valve leaks, blood flow does not cease temporarily, as it would in a normal heart. This causes a continuous flow of blood to the rest of the body. This backflow increases the amount of work on the heart, which can lead to various symptoms. Despite this, it is important to keep in mind that a large popular suffering from this valve condition will be asymptomatic, meaning that they will show none of the above mentioned symptoms at all. In addition, you should also remember that suffering from any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have a leaking valve. There are a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that may cause these same issues.

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    Are Symptoms Indicative of Severity?

    No. Many patients falsely assume that if they experience the symptoms of a leaking aortic valve that the condition must be progressing or that the extent of the leak is severe. This isn’t true though. There is no direct correlation between the extent of the patient’s condition and whether or not he or she experiences any of these problems. As a matter of fact, those with only mild insufficiency caused by a leaking aortic valve can experience symptoms, while another individual with the more severe leakage may experience none. Physicians and researchers alike are still trying to determine why some individuals will experience symptoms, while others do not.

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    Other Important Considerations

    When symptoms of leaking heart valves may seem apparent, you should consult with your physician. In many cases, another condition could be to blame. Not all patients will require medical interventions for this particular phenomenon. Some even live with this condition without ever knowing it. However, certain symptoms such as fainting, irregular or rapid heart beat, fainting and excessive edema may require immediate medical attention.

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    Bibliography

    An Overview of Heart Valve Disease. WebMd. 2009 March. Viewed 27, November 2010. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-valve-disease

    Aortic Valve Regurgitation. Mayo Clinic. 24, September 2009. Viewed 27, November 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aortic-valve-regurgitation/DS00419/DSECTION=symptoms

    Symptoms of Valve Disease. Cleveland Clinic. 1995-2010. Viewed 27, November 2010. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/valve/valvsymptoms.aspx