Diastolic Murmur of Mild Aortic Insufficiency

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Mild aortic insufficiency is also known as an aortic regurgitation. This is the movement of blood during the diastolic phase of the heartbeat from the aorta back into the left ventricle.

The Causes

This backward flow of blood is a result of aortic valves that are not functioning properly. There are a number of diseases or condition that can cause the aortic valves to not close properly. One cause includes heart failure that is secondary to rheumatic heart disease. The person would have previously been diagnosed with rheumatic fever that damaged the valves within the heart. This is a common cause of diastolic murmur of mild aortic insufficiency, but the most common cause of this condition would have to be bacterial endocarditis.

Bacterial endocarditis can lead to the infected person developing a dilated or ballooned ascending aorta. As a result, the aortic valves are not able to properly close as a result of the enlarged ascending aorta.

It can also be caused by a hole on the aortic valves called an annulus that prevents the valves from closing properly. When this backward flow of blood occurs, it produces a diastolic murmur of mild aortic insufficiency.

There are quite a number of other conditions such as endocarditis or a myocardial infraction (heart attack) that are the differential diagnosis for aortic insufficiency.

The Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms associated with aortic insufficiency is a low blood pressure, pain in the chest and arm known as angina, or a difficulty breathing called dyspnea. As the mild aortic insufficiency increases, the chronic situation can produce a worsening of dyspnea, palpitations, abdominal discomfort and a loud heartbeat.

Other than the diastolic murmur of mild aortic insufficiency, the signs that a doctor can discover include an increased heart rate known as tachycardia, fluid buildup, and blue discoloration of the skin.

Within two years of being diagnosed, the person may develop congestive heart failure. In the acute stages, the aortic regurgitation can develop into pulmonary edema. This pulmonary edema or fluid within the lungs can develop into a more advanced heart failure and progress to cardiogenic shock.

The Treatment

The treatment method chosen for you will depend on the results of your tests. Your doctor will sit with you and discuss your test results and the next step towards treatment. If the symptoms you have are life-threatening, you can be given medication to remove the excess buildup of fluid and to improve your blood pressure. In some instances, a person may need to undergo surgery to fix the initial cause of the aortic regurgitation.

The Prognosis

When someone has a diastolic murmur of mild aortic insufficiency they will usually develop it after the age of 40 years old. At least 75 percent of the people with this condition will be alive after five years. However, only 50 percent of the same individuals will be alive after 10 years.


Merck Manual Online: Aortic Regurgitation: Valvular Disorders

WebMD: Aortic Regurgitation

University of California at Los Angeles: Aortic Regurgitation - Diastolic Murmur