Your heart works day and night to pump oxygen-rich blood to each part of the body. It does so by opening and closing its valves.
Your heart has four chambers and each chamber has a valve that allows blood to leave the chamber. With each heartbeat, the flaps covering each valve opens and shuts to allow the blood to exit the chamber. In some cases, this flap may not open or close tightly enough, allowing the blood to leak in both directions.
Aorta is the last chamber before the blood leaves the heart for your body. If blood leaks back into the aorta, this condition is called aortic gurgitation. If left untreated, the condition may become serious.
This is because the heart will work harder to make up for this leakage of blood. Heart muscles can become fatigued from the additional pressure.
What are the symptoms of aortic regurgitation?
Aortic regurgitation symptoms may not show up for years in some people, especially if the case is mild. However, in acute cases, the following symptoms may be seen:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Swollen ankles and feet
Causes of aortic regurgitation
Aortic valve regurgitation may have many causes such as:
- Congenital condition: A healthy aorta has three cusps or flaps. However, some people are born with just two cusps in their aorta. These are called bicuspid aortic valves. Most mild cases of aortic regurgitation are caused by bicuspid aortic valves.
- Rheumatic fever: This is the most common cause of aortic valve regurgitation. It is a complication of strep throat infection that is untreated for long.
- Aortic valve stenosis: Sometimes the aortic valve becomes so thick that it cannot open and close normally. This causes aortic regurgitation.
- Endocarditis: This condition occurs when a bacteria travels backwards in the blood from any part of the body back to the heart.
Diagnosis of aortic regurgitation
Generally, valve anomalies are detected by the doctor while listening to your heartbeat. If there is a leakage of blood in the valves, usually it causes a whooshing sound in between heart beats.
During a regular physical check up, your doctor may notice a whooshing sound. To confirm the diagnosis, you may be asked to undergo some tests. These include cardiac catheterization, X-ray and/or echocardiogram.
Treatment of aortic regurgitation
The treatment strategy will depend on the severity of your condition. For mild aortic regurgitation, no treatment may be required at all. However, your doctor may ask you to come in for a physical exam periodically. This is to ensure that the condition has not become worse.
In severe cases, a surgery may be performed to replace the aortic valve. This is usually an open heart surgery. Another option is the transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR wherein a catheter is inserted to place a replacement valve. TAVR is a minimally invasive process and less time consuming compared to open heart surgery.
Apart from medication and surgery, lifestyle changes will go a long way in managing aortic valve regurgitation. A healthy diet, physical exercise and good sleep will help. Limiting alcohol and quitting smoking will protect your heart from a host of ailments.
Miltonia bi-leaflet mechanical heart valve from Meril
Miltonia is a state-of-the-art device made of pyrolytic carbon for improved safety and biocompatibility in heart valve replacement. This device reduced turbulence with smooth buffering for an overall quieter impact. An open pivot design lowers the risk of thrombosis.
As a company, Meril is involved in research to identify newer potential for medical devices that can alleviate human suffering. Meril designs and develops ENT devices, diagnostic devices, orthopedic implants, and more. Doctors and paramedics are also trained at Meril Academy with the latest medical technology.
With a presence that spans 100+ countries, Meril hopes to pioneer much more research and development in the years to come.
Dafodil Pericardial Bioprosthesis
The Dafodil Pericardial Bioprosthesis from Meril is a triple composite biomechanically engineered valve. This valve from Meril has been designed with the latest advancements in engineering. Some of the noteworthy benefits include durability, excellent hemodynamics, ease of implantability, and unique delivery system for mitral valve.
The Dafodil Pericardial Bioprosthesis valve also has suture markers which help in suture placement and valve orientation. This device is MRI compatible.
Aortic valve regurgitation is a condition that may be difficult to detect as the symptoms are rare, especially in mild cases. However, if left undetected, the condition may worsen and lead to a heart attack.
Timely detection is the only way to manage this condition. If you have any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Regular checkups are a must for those diagnosed with aortic valve regurgitation. Adopting a healthy and stress-free lifestyle will increase your heart’s age.