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Heart Valve Problems: Aortic Insufficiency

Aortic insufficiency means your aortic valve has problems closing. Blood leaks back through the valve. Extra blood may cause the ventricle to stretch. A stretched ventricle doesn’t squeeze as well. In time, the heart won’t move blood the way it should.

Possible Causes

You may be born with a problem aortic valve that doesn’t close properly. Or, your aortic valve may have been damaged by rheumatic fever or a heart infection.

Image of man bicycling
People with aortic insufficiency can be born with the problem, and often feel no symptoms.

Image of closed valve
Closed aortic valve with insufficiency (viewed from above).

Cutaway view of heart

Treating Aortic Insufficiency

Your doctor may prescribe medications. These can make it easier for the heart to move your blood. To treat severe insufficiency, heart valve surgery may be suggested, especially if you develop symptoms.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ailawadi, Gorav, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Garrett, John R, MD, FACS
Date Last Reviewed: 4/3/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.